Opposition cries foul over West Bengal budget, to move EC

March 20th, 2009 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 20 (IANS) The West Bengal assembly was plunged into chaos Friday as the opposition shouted slogans and walked out alleging the government had presented a full-fledged budget instead of a vote-on-account, which was in violation of the election code.
Speaking outside the House, opposition parties Trinamool Congress and Congress threatened to complain to the Election Commission on the Left Front government paying no heed to the model conduct code in force for the election.

Midway into Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta’s budget speech, which contained a series of sops, members of the opposition Congress and Trinamool Congress raised slogans describing the budget as unconstitutional.

Towards the end of the speech, Trinamool and Congress lawmakers walked out of the House.

Speaking to reporters, leader of the opposition Partha Chattopadhyay alleged that the finance minister’s speech violated the model code of conduct.

“The government was supposed to place a vote-on-account for four months. But instead, it addressed issues for the whole year. This is extremely unconstitutional. They have tried to give sops keeping the impending election in mind,” Chattopadhyay said.

“It was nothing but the Left Front government’s election manifesto. The government has violated the model code of conduct and election guidelines,” he said.

“We will move the Election Commission on this issue,” he said.

Congress legislative party leader Manas Bhuniya said the finance minister has exceeded his mandate.

“The language, nomenclature and financial exercise should have been limited to the vote-on-account. But he exceeded his brief. We will take it up with the Election Commission,” Bhuniya said.

Denying the charges, Dasgupta said projects announced in the budget were nothing new.

“We had announced them on Feb 23 to help the common people and beat the recession”.

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