Himachal Budget session set to be stormy

Shimla, March 12 : The Budget session of the Vidhan Sabha, which will commence on March 14, is likely to be stormy as the BJP is gunning for the Congress regime on the issue of closure of over 600 institutions opened by the previous Jai Ram government.

The first Budget session of the Sukhu government will conclude on April 6 after 18 sittings. The CM, who also holds the Finance portfolio, will present the Budget for the year 2023-24 on March 17. The BJP is seething over the Sukhu government’s decision to de-notify around 600 institutions. It has also undertaken a signature campaign against the move.

The BJP and the ruling Congress are all set to lock horns over the issue in the House. The government is likely to counter the BJP onslaught by presenting a White Paper on the grim financial health of the state. “A majority of these institutions were opened in the last six months and that too without any staff or budgetary provision,” said CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu while defending his government’s decision.

While the BJP has been accusing the government of setting a wrong precedent, the Congress has hit back by saying that the state’s finances do not permit the burden of these institutions.

“The institutions were opened with the prior approval of the Cabinet and in public interest. Their closure will cause inconvenience to the people,” claims Randhir Sharma, BJP MLA.

Former CM Jai Ram Thakur has already announced that on returning to power, these institutions will be reopened by the BJP.

The BJP will also seek accountability of the Congress over the non-fulfilment of 10 guarantees made to the people before the Lok Sabha elections. It will seek answers on the issue of providing Rs 1,500 monthly assistance to the women aged between 18 and 60 years, one lakh jobs and 300 units of free power to the people. The issue of scrapping the Staff Selection Board at Hamirpur, following a paper leak case, is also likely to be raised in the House vociferously.

The Congress and the BJP will also trade charges on the issue of pushing the state on the verge of bankruptcy. Both parties have blamed each other for the financial mess. At present, Himachal has a debt burden of around Rs 75,000 crore. The Sukhu regime could also bring in some Bills during the session.