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Budget session: Khattar govt may face fire from rivals and some party MLAs

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has had a smooth sailing in the Haryana assembly till now, but things may be different this time.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2017 11:49 IST
Navneet Sharma
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.(HT File Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has had a smooth sailing in the Haryana assembly till now, but things may be different this time.

The state government is expected to come under fire in the coming budget session of the state assembly from not just its rivals, but also from within the party.

The opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Congress are sharpening their claws to go after the state government regarding the ongoing Jat stir for quota, row over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, controversy related to 464 acres of prime land in Gwal Pahari, change in Gurugram metro route plan and non-fulfilment of poll promises.

The INLD, whose leaders tried to march into neighbouring Punjab on Thursday to re-dig its portion of the SYL Canal, has already made its intent known. Though the march was foiled by Punjab police, the party’s plan has brought the contentious canal on the centre stage with just two days to go for the assembly session. While there is a verdict in favour of Haryana on the construction of SYL, Ellenabad MLA Abhay Chautala, who led the march, has repeatedly accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in Haryana of not doing anything to implement the court’s decision.

“We will take up their controversial decisions related to land and change in metro route plan in Gurugram, patronage to an entertainment and leisure destination that defaulted on payments and favouritism in recruitment for government jobs” – Kiran Choudhry, leader of Congress Legislature Party

On the Jat agitation too, Abhay, whose party publicly gave its backing to the protesters, has threatened not to let the state assembly function if their demands for reservation, withdrawal of all cases registered during last year’s violent clashes etc are not fulfilled. As the protesters have decided to take their fight to the national capital from March 1, INLD and Congress plan to give a tough time to the ruling party for its “indifferent response” to their demands.

“They have made a mockery of governance. No effort has been made to get the court decision on SYL implemented. Law and order has deteriorated in the state. We will take up all these issues,” Congress Legislature Party leader Kiran Choudhry said. But it is the growing murmurs of discontent among a section of “exasperated” party legislators that are expected to complicate matters for the ruling party.

Gurugram MLA Umesh Aggarwal has already opened a front against his party’s government in the state through a barrage of charges. He attacked the state government thrice this month, raising questions about ownership of Gwal Pahari land worth Rs 3,000 crore, change in metro route in Gurugram and the tendering process for meter purchase by power utilities.

“The government’s focus will be on development initiatives and programmes. Budget will also be aimed at equitable development. As for party MLAs, they will raise issues related to their areas. But, no one can question the intent of the CM or the government” – Subhash Barala, BJP state president

His outbursts have not only embarrassed the state government, but have also provided more ammunition to the opposition parties.

On Thursday, the MLA, who has been holding meetings with a few other party legislators, released another statement on a dozen-odd questions he submitted to the assembly secretariat for the Question Hour, seeking answers from the government on Gwal Pahari land, change of land use (CLU) permissions and steps taken to avoid a repeat of last year’s monsoon mayhem. These are all portents of a stormy session ahead.

BUDGET LIKELY ON MARCH 6

The budget for 2017-2018 is likely to be presented on March 6 in the Haryana assembly session, which is scheduled to begin on February 26. The actual schedule of the budget session will be made by the business advisory committee of the assembly after taking opinion of the opposition parties. This will be the third budget to be presented by this government.