Congress Legislature Party Leader, Mukesh Agnihotri on Monday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government must end its ‘honeymoon’ period and come out with a roadmap for development of the state.
Initiating debate on budget proposals presented by Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur for 2018-19 on 9 March, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Mukesh Agnihotri said the budget lacks direction.
“The government has just given ‘lolly-pops’ in the name of small little schemes. You changed the names of some schemes run earlier to take credit. May be, there is lurking fear of Parliament polls now,” he said.
He said the budget was silent on financial management and resource generation.
“The CM will run the government by taking loans and is heavily dependent on the Central help. The government must mobilise funding from NDA government in the Centre at the earliest, as it may not get more time after July-August, with polls due in 2019,” he said.
He said the bureaucracy has misguided the new CM in preparing budget proposals. “The producer and director of the budget remain the same. There may have been some changes in comedians,” Agnihotri said.
Four-time MLA, Agnihotri, who is a first timer as CLP leader, took up various issues against the government critically, interspersing his speech with poetry, replying to CM’s references.
“Shohrat ki bulandi bhi ek tamasha hai..jis shakkh par baithaiy ho, voh toot bhi sakti hai (You are sitting on the heights of fame, the branch on which you are sitting may break in a minute).
Agnihotri said it was surprising that BJP government was trying to generate more income by selling liquor. “The government has talked of increasing Rs 400 Crore from liquor sale this year.”
The CLP leader said there were so many incidents of murders and crime against women over the last two months of the BJP government. “While in Opposition, the BJP had been critical of crime incidences in previous Congress tenure,” he said.
Agnihotri alleged monopolisation by Transport Company of former deputy CM of Punjab, Sukhbir Badal in HP and said, “they were buying the Volvo buses in Himachal.”
He said the BJP government had misled the youth of the state and has not stated any policy for employment.
Agnihotri said the government was subtly trying to touch the Section 118 of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, but the Congress will oppose it tooth and nail. He said the government was considering formulating transfer policy for teachers. “It’s a tedious task with around one lakh teachers and so many unions. The government must do wide consultations before coming out with any policy,” he said.
Participating in the debate, BJP member from Nurpur, Rakesh Pathania attacked the Congress party for its failures in the previous regime, whether it was education or health. He said the Congress government had created a financial mess in Himachal previously.
He alleged that mining mafia flourished in previous Congress regime from Nurpur to Nalagarh. He said the budget has vision in every paragraph. He said Congress was criticising the budget for the heck of it.