The budget session of the Delhi Assembly, which starts Tuesday, is likely to be a stormy one, with the opposition BJP planning to attack the AAP government over alleged under-utilisation of funds allocated in last year’s budget.
Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, along with BJP MLAs O P Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan, claimed Monday that the government had been able to spend only 30 per cent of the total budget allocated this year.
Gupta said the party will also target the government over advertisements in which the AAP administration claimed that it has saved money on various projects. “The BJP will expose the government’s lies… on its claim that it has saved money on the construction… of roads, bridges, dispensaries. It says the cost of building a flyover has been reduced from Rs 325 crore to Rs 200 crore, of building a dispensary from Rs 5 crore to Rs 20 lakh… when the work order has already been issued, how can the project cost be altered? The government will also have to explain why, in spite of supposedly saving so much money, it has proposed an increase in VAT and other taxes,” said Gupta.
The BJP claimed that the government was planning to decrease the allocated budget for publicity from Rs 526 crore to Rs 200 crore, terming it a “wasteful expenditure”.
“It is much more than the budget of Rs 23 crore of the last non-AAP government. The BJP will fight against this wasteful expenditure,” said Gupta.
He claimed that the duration of assembly sessions had been deliberately reduced “to forestall the efforts of the opposition to bring in private member bills and put forward questions and issues… which could embarrass the government”.
The BJP said it was planning to question the government on 45 issues, including “prior approval of constitutional authorities not being taken for 16 bills passed in the assembly and 52 notifications, doing away with the Delhi Subordinate Service Selection Board on account of ‘corruption’ and the unauthorised appointment of the chief of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission”.
The party has also issued notice to the assembly secretary on 14 issues like “non-availability of doctors and non-provision of medicines to poor patients, misuse of government funds for wasteful promotion, wastage of public money on 21 MLAs appointed as parliamentary secretaries”, said Gupta.
Meanwhile, a recommendation by the Ethics Committee to strip Sharma of his Delhi legislative assembly membership — for making “sexist comments” against AAP MLA Alka Lamba — is likely to be tabled in the budget session. During the winter session, Sharma was suspended for the rest of the session by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel for his derogatory remarks against Lamba.