OPPOSITION on Tuesday staged walk- out in both Houses of Maharashtra legislature, alleging that the State’s Budget for 2019-20 was “leaked” on the Twitter handle of Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar before he presented it in the Assembly. This was an “insult” of legislators, the Opposition members said and demanded an apology from Mungantiwar and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over it. “We were in power for 15 years, but the Budget never got leaked. Now the budget provisions were being put out on the Finance Minister’s Twitter account along with advertisement even before he read out those to us,” NCP MLA Ajit Pawar told reporters. “That means the team handling the minister’s Twitter account had the details. This means the Budget got leaked to them first. This is an insult of the members. Both Mungantiwar and Fadnavis should apologise,” the former State Finance Minister said. Congress MLA and former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan seconded Pawar.
“In other countries, finance minister would have resigned had the Budget got leaked,” he said. Leader of Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said both Mungantiwar and Minister of State for Finance Deepak Kesarkar should resign. Opposition legislators from both Houses staged a protest against the “leak” on the premises of the legislature complex. The Budget was presented simultaneously by Mungantiwar and Kesarkar in the Assembly and Council, respectively. When Kesarkar rose to present the budget in the Upper House, Munde waved his mobile phone and read out from it some Budget details which he claimed were posted on Mungantiwar’s Twitter account.
Following a ruckus over the issue, Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When the proceedings resumed, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil of the BJP, who is leader of the House, said he would move a no-confidence motion against Nimbalkar, saying “we have come to the conclusion that the House chairman cannot protect our rights”. Speaking to reporters outside, Ajit Pawar said the Opposition expected the Government to shower promises in the budget as the state Assembly polls are around the corner. “But when it comes to implementing the promises, they will cite the election code of conduct,” he said. Budget is more of poll manifesto, disappointing: Opposition: OPPOSITION parties on Tuesday dubbed the budget presented by the BJP-led Maharashtra Government as “disappointing”, saying it is full of pre-election populist announcements.
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented a budget with a revenue deficit of Rs 20,292.94 crore in the Assembly. “The Government used this opportunity to make populist announcements ahead of elections...The right place to make such announcements is manifesto, not budget. We are disappointed,” Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan told reporters. The Maharashtra Assembly polls are due in October. The Government should have instead presented an account of what it plans to do for the next few months before the election, the former Chief Minister said. Citing the latest Economic Survey he said there was decline in manufacturing and agricultural sectors. “The investment in Maharashtra has gone down,” Chavan added. State NCP chief Jayant Patil said the budget had nothing constructive.