Congress stalls passage of Uttarakhand bill, finance bill in RS

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 11, 2016 01:36 IST
Congress member Anand Sharma speaks in the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

As Uttarakhand Congress leaders claimed victory in Tuesday’s trust vote, a confident opposition party thwarted the NDA government’s attempt to pass the Uttarakhand budget in Rajya Sabha contending that the matter should be taken up after the Supreme Court order on the imposition of president’s rule in the state on Wednesday. An unrelenting opposition also refused to allow discussion and passage of the Finance Bill and forced adjournment of the House without any transaction of business post-lunch.

As the Upper House met after lunch recess, Congress MPs started disrupting the proceedings first demanding a discussion on the CAG report on Gujarat state power corporation (GSPC) that pointed out irregularities in the KG Basin gas project, and then opposing the government ‘s move to pass the Uttarakhand state budget. Congress MPs shouted slogans accusing the NDA government of “murdering” democracy.

Amidst the din, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien tried to initiate discussion on Union Finance Bill but Congress leader Anand Sharma raised questions over the move to bring the Uttarakhand budget in the Supplementary list arguing that the state assembly had already passed it.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to persuade the opposition saying that the passing of the state budget on March 18 was “highly contentious” as the arithmetic was “highly loaded” against it. “The order of appropriation has to be sanctioned by Parliament as all expenditure from April 1 has to be validated,” said Jaitley. He emphasized that the bill has to be passed to provide sanction to all expenditure made since April 1 when the President’s Rule was in force. Jaitley called the passing of the Uttarakhand appropriation bill as a “Constitutional necessity”.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, however, said it was a “constitutional impropriety” to pass the Uttarakhand budget in Parliament when the state assembly had already passed it, referring to the Speaker’s decision before the Harish Rawat government was dismissed. “It is not the responsibility of this House,” Sharma added.

Amid pandemonium, the house had to be adjourned for 15 minutes. After it re-assembled, Congress MPs resumed their slogans. At that point of time, Samajwadi party MP Naresh Aggarwal and CPI(M) leader sitaram Yechury stepped in requesting deputy chairman PJ Kurien to adjourn the house and take up the discussion on the Appropriation and Finance bill on Wednesday when the house is in order. Requesting the chair to adjourn the house for the day, the opposition parties gave their words that they would cooperate in passing the bills on Wednesday. Kurien finally accepted their demand and adjourned the house for the day.

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