Creating a flutter during the budget debate, leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar on Tuesday compared the fielding of a BJP stalwart from Punjab as “gau-hatya” (cow slaughter).
At the beginning of his speech, Jakhar said, “Punjab has been facing the brunt of the political murder of a very capable politician by the SAD-BJP regime. The state is being met an indifferent treatment as he now holds a grudge.”
It evoked an equally strong reaction from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who expressed his reservation to the analogy.
“I never interrupt when the leader of opposition is speaking. But is this kind of satire called for? Is it right to speak like that?” Badal asked. The name of the leader was expunged by assembly Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal saying the former was not present in the House.
Jakhar then went on to account for the “unkind cuts” imposed by the NDA government at the Centre. “The cash credit instalment was withheld as there is a huge bungling. The stocks do not exist. They also denied Punjab a revenue deficit grant. The union finance minister wants you to route all your funds through the state’s consolidated fund,” he said.
‘Budget speech, figures tell different story’
Hitting out at finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa’s fourth budget, Jakhar said the very sanctity of his budget is under a cloud.
“The budget speech pegs power subsidy at Rs 5,484 crore. In the budget at a glance, the allocation is slashed by half. Was it a typo? Also, I want the FM to answer where has social security fund money been diverted,” he said.
Asking the government to bring a white paper on the state finances, Jakhar said, “I also want to bust the myth behind higher devolution of funds. Going by previous allocations, the state’s share in the central schemes would have increased by Rs 1,500 crore in 2015-16 to around Rs 10,000 crore. But it has been slashed by half to Rs 5,000 crore in the budget. So while the state’s share in central taxes would have increased by Rs 1,000 crore next year, the higher devolution will mean Rs 1,500 crore extra. So the net loss to the state amounts to Rs 3,500 crore from central schemes alone,” he said.
Citing the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), he said the CAG report is like a “condemnation” report on the government. “It has pointed out many irregularities. Rs 3,000 crore is not accounted for. It is not an era of kings when one could distribute funds at one’s whims and fancies. I am not even talking about what it had said on the purchase of the helicopter and ammunition.
Again, quoting the CAG, he took a dig at the CM. “The self-portrait of Amrita Shergill has fetched Rs 18 crore in an auction. Punjab lost Rs 23.8 crore of central funds for using the CM’s pictures on ambulances,” Jakhar said.
‘Budget as bland as cover’
“The cover of last year’s budget speech was colourful. This year, it is bland with no colour, so is the budget,” leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar said during the budget debate on Tuesday. Last year, FM Parminder Dhindsa had used the pictures of both the CM and deputy CM in the cover of his budget speech.