KOLKATA: The opposition CPM and Congress on Saturday accused West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra of "deliberately misleading" the state Assembly with his answers during the debate on the budget.
Mitra told the Assembly on Saturday that there has been no reduction in budgetary allocations for different departments and Rs 1166.89 crore was sanctioned for agriculture alone. CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty said the finance minister's reply during the debate on Saturday did not tally with his budget speech, which spoke of decline in spending in different departments including agriculture.
The CPM and the Congress disputed it and accused Mitra of "deliberately misleading the House" and tore copies of the budget book.
As Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay showed a book claiming it contained the figures quoted by Mitra, Chakraborty and Congress leader Sukhbilas Barma shouted in protest and tore copies of the budget book before leaving the House. Mitra in his speech said the government has done away with the division in planned and non-planned expenditure.
Referring to the projects mentioned in budget, he said the leather complex at Bantala in the city's outskirts would be made one of the the largest in Asia and would have eight effluent plants. It employes about 2.20 lakh people now and the figure will increase to five lakh on completion.
Countering him, Chakraborty later told newsmen at the Assembly premises that the proposal to do away with the distinction between planned and non-planned expenditure was not referred to by Mitra in his budget speech. The finance minister by speaking about it now was done to mislead the house.
Referring to Mitra's claim that the state has been burdened with Rs 23000 crore as interest for the debt taken by the erstwhile Left Front government, Chakraborty said only Rs 400 crore was taken during the rule of Left rule.
He said Mitra had in his budget speech compared figures of 2011 and 2020 but the situation has changed "vastly" since then. "The government is not comparing figures of recent years," the CPM leader said. The budget for 2020-21 was the last before the West Bengal Assembly election, which is due in 2021.