Opposition boycotts Bengal budget, holds mock session outside Assembly | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Opposition boycotts Bengal budget, holds mock session outside Assembly

Congress and the Left boycotted the budget to protest against the alleged manhandling of Abdul Mannan, veteran Congressman and leader of the opposition on February 8.

kolkata Updated: Feb 10, 2017 18:55 IST
Tanmay Chatterjee
Mock budget
Congress MLA Sukhbilas Barma (standing at the centre) poses as Bengal finance minister during the mock budget session held by opposition MLAs outside the Assembly on Friday.(Subhankar Chakraborty)

If theatrics are an integral part of Indian politics then Left and Congress MLAs at the Bengal Assembly certainly did their best to steal the limelight on Friday.

While finance minister Amit Mitra placed the budget with chief minister Mamata Banerjee by his side, Opposition MLAs, who boycotted the day’s session in protest against a proposed anti-arson law, held a mock budget session on the lawn outside the House with all the trappings of a street theatre. A couple of news channels went live with the unique “protest.”

“I seek permission from the honourable speaker before placing the budget,” said Congress MLA and retired IAS officer Sukhbilas Barma who played finance minister. Entrusted with the “coveted role” of the speaker and armed with a full-scale replica of the mace placed inside the House, veteran RSP leader and former minister Biswanath Choudhury took position beside Congress MLAs one of whom even played chief minister.

Read: By 2018-19 Trinamool government set to overtake debt raised by the Left

“I am happy to announce that bicycles will be given to school students but these will be manufactured in Bengal. We will not allow purchase from companies based in other states,” Barma went while members of the mock assembly applauded. “The same rule will apply to other goodies that are given away,” he added.

Barma even rebuked the “minister for cattle smuggling” and “minister for coal smuggling” for failing to generate enough revenue. They were subsequently “sacked” as well.

The mock session was almost as long as the real budget session. Apparently the Opposition was eager to keep the media engaged. However when the real chief minister called a press conference, most of the media-persons rushed to duty.