Gandhinagar, Feb 19 (IANS) The month-long budget session of the new Gujarat assembly began on Monday with the opposition legislators creating a ruckus over various issues, including their demand that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani quit, forcing adjournments.
Soon after Governor O.P. Kohli started his address to the House following the election of new Speaker Rajendra Trivedi, the Congress MLAs were on their feet, shouting slogans against the government as they rushed towards the Speaker’s podium.
The agitating legislators forced the Governor, who had earlier inaugurated the reconstructed Assembly building after a ‘havan’, to cut short his speech, which was later deemed as read.
Congress members sought the resignation of Rupani over range of issues, including the immolation of Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar, water shortage in Narmada and agrarian issues.
The session, which is scheduled to conclude on March 28, is expected to clear around six bills and witness stormier sessions than ever before. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who holds the finance portfolio, will present the Budget for 2018-19 on Tuesday.
The ruling BJP with its reduced number of 99 legislators is facing a resurgent Congress with 77 members with vocal young leaders Paresh Dhanani leading the opposition and other young leaders like Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani targeting the party.
Mevani, the Congress supported Independent MLA from Vadgam in north Gujarat, is already on a warpath with the government over the self-immolation of Vankar who succumbed to his injuries on Friday night, and was detained by Ahmedabad police on Sunday while he was on his way to Saraspur to join an anti-government protest.
The protest by Mevani and hundreds of Dalits on Monday forced the government to give in to their demand for possession of land already allotted to them under the Agricultural Land Ceiling Act.