Budget passed in UP Assembly; House adjourned sine die
The Uttar Pradesh Assembly was adjourned sine die on Thursday, a week ahead of the schedule, after the House passed the annual budget for 2021-22, the largest budget so far in the history of the state.
The government presented the last budget of its current tenure last week with an outlay of ₹5,50,270.78 crore.
The first paperless budget of Uttar Pradesh, which intends to make the state "aatmanirbhar" (self-reliant) as Finance Minister Suresh Khanna put it, includes new schemes worth ₹27,598.40 crore.
The brief session, which was to conclude on March 10, was curtailed following requests from lawmakers to wrap it up so that they could campaign for the upcoming panchayat polls in the state.
As soon as the House met for the day, Khanna, who is also the parliamentary affairs minister, said due to the upcoming panchayat polls and the recurrence of Covid-19 cases in some states, the proceedings will be completed and the House will be adjourned.
Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary of the Samajwadi Party (SP) termed it "murder of democracy" and said the Assembly members do not have to contest in the panchayat polls and that the House should be run till March 10, as decided earlier.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Lalji Verma and Congress Legislative Party leader Aradhna Mishra Mona too cited rules and said the proceedings should continue and there is no reason for curtailing the session.
Khanna, however, cited examples from 2009, 2006 and 1991 and said as the number of coronavirus cases is also rising, the budget should be passed and the House adjourned sine die.
Dissatisified with the "undemocratic" move of the government, opposition SP, BSP, Congress and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) staged a walkout.
Subsequently, the budget and the related appropriation bills were passed by a voice vote.
Several amendment bills were passed before the House was adjourned.
The session commenced on February 18 with the governor's customary address to the joint sitting of the Assembly and the Legislative Council, but it was marked by opposition protests and walkouts.
Replying to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the governor for her address, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath slammed the opposition members for their "behaviour".
Later, while speaking on the budget, Adityanath flayed the SP, accusing it of presenting "directionless" state budgets in the past, unlike the budget presented by Khanna, which was "lauded by various chambers of commerce and welcomed by all sections of the society".
Opposition parties, on the other hand, said the budget was anti-poor and anti-farmer.
As the opposition tried to corner the government on the issue of law and order, Adityanath sought to turn the tables on the SP on Wednesday over incidents of crime in the state, asking why the word "samajwadi" gets tagged to every criminal.
He referred to an incident in Hathras, in which a man out on bail after his arrest in 2018 in a molestation case allegedly shot dead the victim's father.
The Assembly passed two key bills on Monday, including one that relates to recovery of damages to public and private properties from protesters, amid opposition demands that it be referred to a select committee.
According to the statement of reasons and object of the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Bill, 2021, protesters found guilty of damaging government or private properties will face imprisonment up to a year or a fine ranging from ₹5,000 to ₹one lakh.
The House also passed the Uttar Pradesh Goonda Control (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to empower the joint and deputy commissioners of police to act under the legislation.