The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Union Budget without any debate, leading to a walkout by members of the Congress and Trinamool Congress, while the TDP, YSR Congress, and AIADMK protested near the Speaker's podium.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley moved the Finance Bill 2018, as well as the Appropriation Bill amid the din, and they were passed by voice vote. This has provoked sharp criticism of the Narendra Modi government from various quarters including the Opposition parties.
"On the most important issue of the budget session i.e. the Finance Bill, there was no discussion for even a second. It has been the DNA of the BJP government to strangle democracy. We have seen the example of this today. It’s a black day, a blot for democracy," said senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
"We have always said that we want debate and discussion. The entire opposition is united on this. All opposition parties also met the Speaker yesterday (Tuesday) and said that we wanted discussion on the issue. But the allied parties of the government come to the well of the House, make noise and disrupt the proceedings. This is a conspiracy of the government to pass bills without discussion," he added.
BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab termed the passage as “unfortunate”.
“This is most unfortunate incident in the history of Parliament. All demands for grands were guillotined without any discussion,” he said.
CPI(M) MP Mohammed Salim said the Centre did not want a discussion on the crucial issues faced by the country. “This is a political crisis. Such an arbitrary action hasn't happened in the history of Indian Parliament,” Salim said.
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Speaker Sumitra Mahajan applied guillotine to get the Finance Bill passed and approve outstanding grants of demand for various departments with voice vote.
Guillotine is a tool whereby a fixed time is allotted for discussion for each ministry. When the prescribed time is over, all the outstanding demands are put to voice vote.
The Opposition leaders were protesting against the government over a range of issues. They alleged that the government was running away from debate in Parliament.
Responding to Opposition's charge, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that the government made all possible efforts to run the House for the past one-and-a-half week. The government, he said, was ready to discuss any issue, but proceedings remained disrupted.
Speaker Mahajan also voiced unhappiness over stalling of the House. Several urgent legislative businesses could not be delayed further, Mahajan remarked while applying guillotine.
With PTI and IANS inputs