New Delhi: Isolated in Parliament by the unfolding debacle in the Nandigram district of West Bengal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which rules the state, together with some independent members of Parliament, charged the United Progressive Alliance government with deliberate disregard for debates on financial Bills coming up for discussion.
Protests against acquiring land for a special economic zone, and consequent police action left 14 dead in Nandigram on 14 March.
For the fourth year in a row, the vote-on-account, which allows government spending in the period till the Finance Bill is passed, happened entirely without debate.
The government rushed through Bills in both Houses, while Opposition benches busied themselves shouting slogans against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government in West Bengal and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“In this Budget, all financial Bills were cleared without discussions. This is an infringement of rights of parliamentarians,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said on Monday.
Similarly, concerned over the manner in which the Budget was adopted in the Rajya Sabha, Bimal Jalan, a nominated member and a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said he was keen on participating in the Budget discussion, but was not given an opportunity.
Monday was the third day in a row when the leading Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), attacked the CPI(M) over Nandigram.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj defended the Opposition’s actions saying: “The aim is not to delay proceedings or not let the financial matters be discussed, but to make it clear that the incidents in Nandigram are shocking.”
BJP leaders said the finance minister had also broken a format, previously agreed upon by all parties, that he would not read out his entire speech, but only table it in the House.
In addition to the vote-on-account, three crucial Bills were tabled in the upper House, including one to amend the Banking Regulation Act.