The Budget Session of the West Bengal Assembly will begin from Friday with the Governor’s address, Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee said on Thursday after holding an all-party meeting.
It was found that Friday’s session will begin at 3 pm followed by a motion of thanks at 4.30 pm. Following this, the Speaker will disclose names of chairmen of different panels before the House.
After obituary references on June 20, a discussion would be held on the Governor’s address between June 21 and June 23 from 10 am. In the meeting, it was decided that due to Ramzan month, the discussion in the House would end at 4.30 pm every day.
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The three-day debate will be followed by placement of the Budget proposals by the Finance Minister at 2 pm on June 24, the Speaker told reporters. The session will continue till July 4.
Banerjee said there would be an orientation programme for all newly-elected MLAs on June 20 when experienced MLAs and even MPs such as Saugata Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay and Probodh Chandra Sinha, former minister of parliamentary affairs, will address the House. Secretary of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly will also be speaking to the newcomers.
“This time I intend to give priority to the newcomers so that they can participate in debates. I hope and expect that the standard of debates will be high this time,” Banerjee said at a press conference.
During the meeting, Banerjee said he had urged all the parliamentary legislative committees to cooperate. “I hope with their cooperation, the session will be conducted smoothly,” he said.
Asked if there was anything finalised about the proposed debate over fuel price hike and rise in prices of essential commodities, the Speaker said, “The matter has been referred to the Business Advisory committee of the House which will meet on June 22. If there is any proposal on that day, we might consider that.”
Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan, however, expressed unhappiness with the Speaker’s decision on the matter. Mannan said though the Opposition had made the demand, the ruling party seemed not to be in favour of any discussion on the issue in the Assembly.
“We had proposed a discussion in the Assembly on the rising prices of essential commodities but it was not allowed. The Opposition should be given priority in the Assembly. If we don’t get to voice the grievances of the people we will have to resort to other ways,” said the Congress MLA during a joint press conference with CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty.
Hinting at an understanding between the TMC and the BJP, he added, “It is also possible that the reason behind the TMC not wanting a discussion on the issue of price rise is because they do not want the BJP to be in an awkward position.”
Chakraborty also alleged that the TMC was avoiding discussion on pertinent issues in the Assembly. “The Assembly is a place to ventilate the grievance of the common people. There has been an unnatural rise in commodity prices, and even murders over allegations of theft of mangoes and cows. If these are not allowed to be brought up for debate in the Assembly, the government should be prepared to face the consequences,” the CPM leader said.
Meanwhile, deputy leader of Trinamool Congress, Partha Chatterjee said, “What is the hurry? Everything can be sorted out through discussion.”
It was also found that Congress MLA Manoj Chakraborty would be the Chief Whip of the Opposition party.