Opposition raps sudden listing of vote on budget

Unmasked stir:  TDP MP Sivaprasad wearing a mask of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, demanding special package for Andhra Pradesh, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Unmasked stir: TDP MP Sivaprasad wearing a mask of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, demanding special package for Andhra Pradesh, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The Opposition parties in a scathing letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan questioned the government’s decision to list voting on the Union budget without giving prior information to them.

The Congress also called the TDP and AIADMK protests as government-sponsored agitations to distract attention from the Nirav Modi scam.

The letter was submitted to Ms. Mahajan by a delegation of leaders including Leader of the Congress party Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia, CPI (M) MP Mohammed Salim, and RJD MP Jai Prakash Yadav among others.

The Trinamool Congress which has been in the forefront of the Opposition agitations did not sign the memorandum.

The Opposition leaders stated in the letter that in the last Business Advisory committee meeting held on March 5, the government had allotted time for discussion on the budget for six ministries, including the Agriculture Ministry. But the date and time for voting on the budget was not decided.

“This shows the government’s arrogance and unilateral move to bulldoze all the financial business without discussing them on the floor of the House,” the letter said.

The Opposition parties sought to remind the Speaker that for the last seven days, they have been agitating demanding a discussion on the recent financial fraud by jeweller Nirav Modi in the Punjab National Bank through adjournment motion. “The government is not even coming forward to settle the issue for the smooth functioning of the House. On the other hand, the government is hell-bent on passing the entire Bill (Union budget) without proper scrutiny,” the letter said.

Speaking later to the media, Mr. Kharge said protests by the TDP and the AIADMK are “government-sponsored agitations” to ensure that there would be no debate on Nirav Modi defrauding PNB of more than ₹12,000 crore.

Kharge’s poser

“Why do they need to call for Parliament session if they want to clear the Union budget without debate only through voice vote,” Mr. Kharge said.

He charged that the government is trying to mislead the nation by claiming that it is the Opposition which has stalled the working of the House.

Mr. Kharge said when TDP MPs come up with placards, within minutes the House is adjourned instead of suspending the concerned. “The Prime Minister too is not taking interest. It is the duty of the Parliamentary Affairs Minister to take along BJP allies, future allies and their sympathisers to run the House smoothly. He has miserably failed on this account,” he said.

Taking a similar line CPI (M) MP Mohammed Salim said the disruptions in “Parliament is a scripted example of controlled democracy.” He also accused the Trinamool Congress of playing a passive role. “The BJP’s estranged allies and potential allies are all in this together,” he said.

Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha were adjourned for the seventh day in a row without transaction of any business.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 1:11:23 pm |