“Budget Not Leaked,” Says Ashok Gehlot After Scramble, Opposition Charge

    The Speaker asked the House to expunge the proceedings.


    Opposition BJP members protested in the Rajasthan Assembly on Friday soon after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot started presenting the much-awaited state budget, alleging that he was reading from the old budget. BJP further said the budget has technically leaked, as state government officials rushed to get the budget copy. Nobody else but the Chief Minister should bring the budget copy, but this one went through four-five hands, BJP’s Pratap Singh Singhvi, MLA from Chhabra, said, demanding the Chief Minister bring a new budget.

    The Chief Minister refuted the allegations as soon as the House re-convened, saying there was no leak, and an extra page from last year’s budget, which was for reference, was among the fresh budget documents.

    “BJP just wants to show that it is against the development and progress of Rajasthan. Their fictitious allegation that the budget was leaked shows that they will not spare the budget too from their petty politics. There is only one obstacle in ‘Bachat, Rahat, Badhat’ – BJP,” he tweeted in Hindi. ‘Bachat, Rahat, Badhat’ (saving, relief, and progress) is the theme of this year’s state budget.

    Mr Gehlot read out excerpts from the previous budget, on urban employment and krishi budget, instead of Budget 2023-24. As soon as he made the first two announcements, which featured in Budget 2022-23, the Opposition began creating a ruckus and rushed into the well of the House.

    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 governing his state. “Such a state will definitely suffer,” she said.

    “The Chief Minister kept reading the old budget for eight minutes. This is a historic first. I have also been the Chief Minister; I used to read the budget twice, even thrice, and checked everything before taking it in my hands. A Chief Minister who can bring such a big document into the house without checking it, and read the old budget, you can understand how secure the state is in his hands,” Ms Raje added.

    Union Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat mocked the Chief Minister, saying he campaigned for a new budget but read out the old one.

    “Gehlot ji remains very careless, campaigned for this year’s budget and started reading the old budget!

    The public was thinking of a light of relief in the darkness spread by misrule, here the Chief Minister’s light went off.

    Don’t know if we should laugh or cry!” he tweeted.

    Speaker CP Joshi asked the opposition to maintain order, but the Opposition continued its uproar, leading to the House being adjourned. The Speaker asked the House to expunge the proceedings.

    After the adjournment, BJP MLAs staged a sit-in inside the well of the House.

    This will be the last budget of the present government as the state is going for assembly elections later this year.

    With an eye on the upcoming critical state polls, where the grand old party is trying to retain power, Mr Gehlot has repeatedly said that the upcoming budget will focus on youth and women and will fulfil the aspirations of the people of the state.

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