Guillotine clash brews as govt tries to pass budget in Parliament paralysed by protests

New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday set in motion an attempt to get the budget passed without discussion in a paralysed Parliament through a process known as the guillotine.

Once the guillotine is applied, all outstanding demands for grants from various departments will be put to vote at once whether they are discussed or not.

With protests aborting all business in both Houses since the session started on March 5, the government presented a revised list of business on Tuesday that mentioned applying the guillotine on the demands for grants at 5pm.

Eventually, it could not be done on Tuesday but the government is expected to try again on Wednesday. A three-day whip issued to BJP members on Monday indicates the ruling party's seriousness about the matter.

Passing the Finance Bill (the budget) is a constitutional obligation. Although the session is to continue till April 6, the Opposition feels that the government is trying to wind it up early by forcing the Finance Bill through.

On record, the BJP has denied any plan to cut short the session and the government has been listing every day a discussion on the banking scam.

But the Opposition has accused the government of engineering the parliamentary paralysis through its allies to avoid debates on uncomfortable issues such the Nirav Modi scam, the Rafale deal and the agrarian crisis.

While Opposition members have been protesting against the banking scam, BJP ally Telugu Desam Party and the AIADMK have been agitating on state-specific issues, plunging Parliament into chaos. The presiding officers have been adjourning the Houses in the face of members rushing into the well and chanting slogans.

The Opposition has jointly lodged a protest with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on the guillotine plan.

"As per the parliamentary practices, without deciding/informing the date and time of guillotine and passing of Finance Bill to all party leaders, it is quite unusual to include them in the list of business," the Opposition said in a letter.

The letter added: "This shows the government's arrogance and unilateral move to bulldoze (through) all the financial business without discussing them."


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