TRS defends move to hold budget session without Governor’s address

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Opposition BJP has slammed Telangana’s TRS government for deciding to hold budget session of the state Assembly without the Governor’s address but the ruling party has defended its move.

BJP state President Bandi Sanjay Kumar alleged that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government insulted Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan by deciding to do away with her address at the beginning of the session.

He told reporters on Tuesday that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has insulted a woman holding a constitutional post. “This amounts to insulting all women of the state,” he said.

Sanjay Kumar, who is also an MP, described KCR’s decision as “undemocratic”. “I can’t understand what is the problem this government has with the Governor? She has not said anything controversial and she is functioning above the party lines,” he said and demanded that the Chief Minister tender an apology to the Governor.

The BJP leader earlier condemned the decision of the TRS government. “KCR is already giving a sense of what he wants in a rewritten Constitution. No rules, no traditions – only whims. I strongly condemn his decision to do away with Governor’s speech to mark the budget session,” he tweeted.

The TRS government, however, defended its move and brushed aside the criticism from the BJP. Finance Minister T. Harish Rao and Legislative Affairs Minister Vemula Prashant Reddy said the saffron party has no knowledge of legislative rules.

The ministers argued that there are precedents of holding a budget session of Assembly or Parliament without Governor or President’s address when the previous session is not prorogued. They pointed out that the ensuing session is continuation of the session held in September-October last year.

According to the ministers, the constitutional provision is that the Governor shall address a new session in a calendar year and not when the previous session was not prorogued.

Harish Rao said it would be wrong if the Governor addresses the Legislature without proroguing the previous session.

Holding the session with the Governor’s address is a mere technical issue, he added.

Harish Rao recalled that the budget sessions of Andhra Pradesh Assembly in 1970 and 2013 had started without the Governor’s address while in 2004, the Budget session of Parliament also began without the President’s speech.

Hitting back at BJP for its allegation that the TRS government is violating the Constitution, Harish Rao said it is the BJP which has no respect for the Constitution.

He said it was the BJP government at the Centre which dismissed democratically elected governments in the state. “It was BJP which pulled down the governments in Goa, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka. It was again BJP which tried to capture power in Maharashtra through backdoor though it had no majority in the Assembly,” he said.

The Finance Minister alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi violated the Constitution by questioning the formation of Telangana state.

He pointed out that the latest statistics released by the Centre show that Telangana has the highest rate of growth. He said the state’s GSDP and per capita income has doubled. “We will be also keen to highlight these achievements through the Governor’s address but we are not able to do this as the previous session was not prorogued,” he said.

The Chief Minister on Monday decided to hold a budget session of both the houses of state Legislature from March 7. It was announced after a meeting he had with his cabinet colleagues and top officials that the Finance Minister will present the budget for 2022-23 in the Assembly on March 7.

The state cabinet will meet on March 6 to approve the budget.

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