Manipur budget amid din, walkout

The Manipur Assembly witnessed a ruckus over defection by forest and environment minister Th Shyamkumar Singh and a walkout by Opposition Congress before the government presented the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal on Monday.

By Khelen Thokchom in Imphal
  • Published 6.02.18
  •  
N. Biren Singh

Imphal: The Manipur Assembly witnessed a ruckus over defection by forest and environment minister Th Shyamkumar Singh and a walkout by Opposition Congress before the government presented the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal on Monday.

The Congress has been demanding disqualification of Shyamkumar, who joined the BJP after getting elected on a Congress ticket last year.

As Speaker Y. Khemchand Singh was about to ask finance minister Y. Joykumar Singh to present the budget, the Congress's Akoijam Mirabai Devi raised a point of order demanding disqualification of Shyamkumar for defection under the Tenth Schedule.

The Speaker tried to cut short her speech but she continued. In the din, the exchanges between the Speaker and Mirabai were inaudible.

As the Speaker directed Joykumar to present the budget, Congress member Amin Shah joined the ruckus, evoking a sharp reaction from the Speaker who repeatedly shouted at him to "sit down".

As the noisy scene continued with another Congress member, Kovindas Konthoujam, joining the protest, Joykumar was seen on his feet for sometime before he finally sat down waiting for the ruckus to die down.

Chief minister and leader of the House N. Biren Singh then consulted Assembly secretary Y. Ramani Devi.

As the Speaker was adamant against allowing Shyamkumar's issue to be raised, the Congress members, led by Gaikhangam and followed by leader of the Opposition Okram Ibobi Singh, walked out of the House.

The finance minister presented his budget, the second budget of the BJP-led coalition, after the Congress walkout.

"The member's point of order was not actually a point of order as the issue raised by Mirabai had nothing to do with today (Monday)'s agenda of the House. She will have ample opportunity to raise the issue at an appropriate time during the proceedings of the House. The incident is very unfortunate," the Speaker later told reporters.

Joykumar presented a Rs 612.41-crore deficit budget for the 2018-2019 financial year. The total expenditure shown is Rs 13,731.04 crore.

He said the government was working "tirelessly" for inclusive and equitable development, responsive, citizen-centric, corruption-free, transparent and accountable administration and to complete major ongoing projects so that new projects could be taken up.

The MLA local area development fund has been increased from Rs 1 crore each per anum to Rs 2 crore.