The recently-concluded budget session of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha will be remembered as a session of announcements by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,ostensibly made keeping in mind the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. To its credit,the state government came out with a Rs 10,000-crore annual budget for 2009-10,unlike neighbour Punjab,which has been dilly-dallying over presenting a full budget,with the Lok Sabha elections on the anvil.
In the absence of their firebrand leader Om Prakash Chautala,Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leaders found themselves at loss of words and failed to make any mark except for some brief periods by two members,the experienced Dr Sushil Indora and Dr Sitaram,who tried with limited success to carry on gallantly.
In the midst of all this,so pronounced were the announcements by the Chief Minister that they even overshadowed the budget speech of Finance Minister Birender Singh,much to his chagrin. But Birender sought to downplay the notion by saying the CMs announcements had the full approval of the Finance Ministry and it was he who had given these suggestions to Hooda.
The Rs 700-crore welfare measures announced by the CM,however,did not have any financial provision in the budget proposals announced by the FM a little while later.
The CM went on to make more announcements at a later stage,increasing the wages of the guest teachers and announcing contractual system for them.
The session was marked by the absence of Om Prakash Chautala,Bhajan Lal,Chander Mohan and Kiran Choudhry.
Chautala came on the opening day of the session for a brief period and Bhajan Lal too appeared for a while. As many as nine bills were passed in the session,including the controversial amendment in Private Universities Act,allowing a provision of relaxation for the intake of domicile students from Haryana in private universities which have a foreign collaboration. There were frequent changes in the schedule of the budget session starting with the death of the CMs father,Ranbir Singh Hooda.