For the third consecutive day, the BJP, the Left, the AIADMK, the Janata Dal (United) and the Telugu Desam Party on Thursday registered their protest in the Lok Sabha over the increase in the prices of essential commodities, petroleum products and fertilizers and walked out during the voting of the Finance Bill 2010-11.
The BJP and its National Democratic Alliance partners walked out immediately after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee finished his reply. Later, the Left and other non-NDA and non-UPA parties did so when the amendments moved by the Left parties were defeated by voice vote.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said Mr. Mukherjee's reply failed to evoke any enthusiasm among farmers and the common man, who were waiting for announcements of roll-back of the increase in prices to bring down inflation.
“Will benefit only elite”
His announcements would only benefit the elite sections and not the “aam aadmi” (common man). “We will not participate in the division [of votes] and we are walking out,” she said.
Interestingly, members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party, who joined the Opposition demonstration on Tuesday over the issue, remained in the House, so also the Bahujan Samaj Party members.
Mr. Lalu Prasad said the RJD was not going to give its voice vote in favour of the Bill. While moving out, the Left parties unsuccessfully persuaded the Biju Janata Dal members to join them.
During the debate on the Bill, Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) sought changes in the present income-tax procedures to make it people-friendly, which would help check tax evasion.
Bhoopendra Singh (BJP) said due to the complicated tax system, the poor were becoming poorer and the rich richer.
Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) sought incentives to the agriculture sector.
Raguvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) charged the government with giving maximum benefits to the higher income group in the changed tax structure, leaving out other sections.