Minor disruptions during budget presentation by Sheila and expulsion of two BJP legislators from Delhi Assembly

“Delhi resonates with greater hope and confidence than ever before and we have to build on all that we have achieved, to make the city even more prosperous, inclusive, cleaner and safe,” said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday as she began her budget speech that lasted more than an hour and saw minor disruption of the proceedings and expulsion of two Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs from the House for raising slogans and placards.

Ms. Dikshit said the gains made during 1999-2013 have been phenomenal and unprecedented in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, social development, human resources development, environment and governance. “By far the most satisfying aspect for me personally was the sense of participation and the feeling of belonging that the people of Delhi increasingly have with my government,” she said.

Welfare schemes

Announcing a slew of new welfare schemes, Ms. Dikshit said: “I am happy to state that these welfare schemes, though immensely popular and deeply redemptive, are not short-sighted populist sops launched without having due regard to their sustainability. My government believes that sustainability has three components – efficiency, equity and ecology.”

Yet, as soon as Ms. Dikshit broached the topic of water supply, two BJP legislators picked up placards from under the table and started raising slogans. “I have been screaming for four years about water problems,” said BJP MLA from Bijwasan Sat Prakash Rana who later entered the well with a placard that said: ‘Chief Minister Give us Water’. Another BJP legislator Kulwant Rana also wore a placard indicating water problems in the city. Following the commotion, Assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri expelled the two legislators from the House.

The rest of Ms. Dikshit’s speech was also frequently interrupted by members of the Opposition on various points such as pension schemes, per capita income, providing civic services to industrial estates and regularisation of unauthorised colonies.

Leader of Opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra was up on his feet protesting the Chief Minister’s remarks on regularisation of unauthorised colonies. “No plans have been approved yet for these colonies,” he said.

Later while addressing media persons, Prof. Malhotra said the budget was an eyewash and did not provide any relief to the city’s residents.

Subsidy

“People are getting bills for water and electricity that are 10 times higher,” he said, adding there was talk of providing a subsidy for 12 cylinders but no mention was made in the budget. “CCTV cameras were to be installed across the city but there was no provision made for them in this budget.”

He also said it cannot be termed as a “tax free budget” since the substantial level of tax that was previously levied has just been waived. “The Congress party is under the wrong impression that it will benefit in the election year with such a Budget.”

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