Rajasthan Budget 2023: CM Ashok Gehlot reads portions of old budget, BJP MLAs protest
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot misread his old budget speech in the state assembly on Friday for more than seven minutes before being interrupted by Chief Whip Mahesh Joshi. It was adjourned for 30 minutes after opposition members protested and walked out of the House.
Speaker CP Joshi asked them to maintain order but opposition leaders refused to drop the issue. After they were adjourned, BJP MLAs staged a siege inside the well of the House.
Chief Minister Gehlot read out the sections on urban employment and Krishi budget in the previous budget. After making the first two budget announcements, opposition leaders started protesting what was in the 2022-23 budget.
Senior BJP leader and former chief minister Vasundhara Raje said that a chief minister coming to the assembly without reading or checking the budget he is going to present shows how he is ruling his state. “Such a state will definitely suffer,” he added.
This budget cannot be tabled. Is it leaked?” BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria told the House.
“Rajasthan Assembly has been insulted by Chief Minister Khelat’s presentation of old budget today,” said BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore.
Despite the uproar, Speaker CP Joshi allowed Chief Minister Ashok Khelat to present the Budget 2023-24 for the second time. Chief Minister Ashok Khelat urged the BJP MLAs to allow him to present the budget statement for the next financial year as the people of the state would not forgive him for opposing it.
Gehlot said: “You (Opposition) can only point out if there is a difference between what was written in the budget in my hand and the copies they gave to members. If a page has been added by mistake in my budget copy, then how? Does the issue of budget leakage arise?”
This year’s budget will be Chief Minister Gehlot’s last presentation in his five-year tenure before the state goes to polls later this year. Last year, Gehlot announced big-ticket population schemes like the Indira Gandhi Shehri Roskar Guarantee Scheme for urban areas, the Old Pension Scheme.
Also, he increased the man-days under MGNREGS from 100 to 125 days, costing the state exchequer Rs 750 crore. Special attention was paid to agriculture. This year, CM Khelat’s focus was on “Pachhat, Rahat, Badat” (Saving, Relief and Progress).