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Cong alleges leak in budget, walks out

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 6 - Just as Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stood in the House to present the State Budget for the year 2020-21, the Opposition Congress created noisy scenes alleging that the document was leaked earlier in the day and staged a walkout.

Sarma, however, refused to believe the allegations, citing that the tax proposals were passed by the Cabinet just before the House assembled at 2 pm for the presentation of the Budget.

The Budget speech in Assamese was allegedly available online in a website in the morning. Later, the Assamese soft copy of the Budget speech went viral in social media.

As the Finance Minister was about the read his Budget speech at 2 pm, Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia wanted to know if the Budget document was actually leaked before its presentation in the House. Deputy leader of Opposition Rakibul Hussain insisted that there was no meaning reading the Budget if it was already in public domain.

The Finance Minister, however, kept on insisting that the tax proposals were passed by the Cabinet when it met at 1 pm and so there was �no question of it being leaked before that�.

As Sarma continued with his speech, the Opposition members again interrupted after a few minutes, citing that the same �leaked� copy was being read out. Almost all the Congress MLAs were on their feet firing salvos at the government for the �leak�.

Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami said that the Budget contains two parts - one the general economic survey and the second the tax proposals. �The tax proposals ought to be secret till they are presented,� he said.

Though he asserted that leak of the Budget is not a �breach of privilege�, the Speaker, however, said that the Opposition Congress �has a point� which would be discussed later.

But an unrelenting Congress walked out in protest.

Later, the Congress demanded an inquiry by an all-party House committee into the incident and action against those found responsible.

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