Alpesh Thakore Sets Tone, Congress Scales Up Protests In Gujarat Assembly

Alpesh Thakore Sets Tone, Congress Scales Up Protests In Gujarat Assembly


GANDHINAGAR:  Alpesh Thakore, the 42-year-old backward class leader was suspended and another Congress lawmaker evicted from the Gujarat assembly on Tuesday as a belligerent Congress-led opposition created ruckus in the House as Finance Minister Nitin Patel presented his budget. The Congress, which had yesterday prevented Governor OP Kohli from completing his customary address to the assembly, walked out during Mr Patel's budget speech claiming that the government was paying lip service to the farmers. The Congress wanted the state government to hike support price for groundnuts.

Congress lawmaker Harshad Ribadia, who threw groundnuts in the Well of the House to draw the government's plight towards groundnut farmers, was physically evicted from the assembly by marshals. But the loud protests are seen as an indicator of the Congress' renewed determination to make its presence felt, especially after theparty managed to notch up its highest score in 35 years.

On Tuesday, Mr Thakore also set the tone for the Congress' aggressive pitch, demanding during question hour that the government shut down the illicit liquor business. When the unrelenting first-time lawmaker rushed in front of the Speaker Rajendra Trivedi's chair and continued raising slogans, he was later suspended for the day.

But the disruptions continued through Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Nitin Patel budget speech as well.

When Mr Patel sought to underline that his government had raised the allocation for the farm sector to Rs. 6,755 crores, the opposition stepped up its demand for a higher support price for groundnuts.

The Vijay Rupani government presented its first budget after last year's narrow win for the BJP in the assembly elections. While presenting the 1.83 lakh crore budget, Nitin Patel said that the budget focused on creating adequate job opportunities and on the farm sector. The budget offered a string of subsidies for farmers, fishermen and students, amounting to Rs. 2,100 crores. An additional Rs. 64 crores has been allocated to provide free cycles to 1.84 lakh girl students.

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