Maharashtra Budget 2019-20: Oppostion walks out midway through Budget speech

NCP leader Ajit Pawar, with other opposition leaders, talks to the media outside Vidhan Bhavan Tuesday. (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)

There was a high drama in the state s Legislative Assembly on Tuesday during Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar s Budget speech.

Alleging that the Budget document had been leaked before the speech, the Opposition staged a walk-out midway through it, triggering a war of words between the two sides.

The scene was repeated even in the state s Legislative Council where Minister of State (Finance) Deepak Kesarkar was presenting the Budget. The Opposition alleged that the document was leaked on the Twitter handle of Mungantiwar. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has refuted the Opposition s accusation, while Mungantiwar took a dig at the Opposition for deliberately disrupting his speech.

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We were in power for 15 years, but the Budget never got leaked. We objected because the Budget provisions were being put out on the finance minister s Twitter account before he read out those to us, alleged NCP s Legislative Party leader Ajit Pawar. The team handing the minister s Twitter account had the details and that the Budget was leaked to them first. This is a breach of privilege of the legislators. The finance minister and the CM must apologise, Pawar said. Former CM Prithviraj Chavan said, In some other countries, the FM would have resigned if the Budget got leaked. In the Upper House, Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar even had to adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes following the ruckus, which the ruling side objected against. The Opposition later staged a protest inside the Vidhan Bhavan premises over the issue.

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Fadnavis said the Opposition was misinformed . In the Assembly, he claimed that Mungantiwar had begun his speech at 2 pm, while the first tweet posted on his handle was around 2.16 pm. He also claimed that throughout the speech, the announcements were being shared on social media only after Mungantiwar had announced it in the House.

Meanwhile, the Opposition slammed the government s Budget, claiming it lacked direction and was a sheer exercise to appease disgruntled sections ahead of the state elections. Vijay Wadettiwar, Congress s leader in the Assembly, dismissed the Budget provisions. These are mere announcements. The model code of conduct will soon be in place. There will be no implementation, the Congress leader said.