Delhi Budget approved by MHA amid row between Centre and AAP govt

- March 21, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The presentation of the Delhi government’s Budget for 2023-24, scheduled for Tuesday, was put on hold with the Arvind Kejriwal-led dispensation and the central government traded charges over allocations under various heads

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal

Hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday requesting him to “not stop Delhi’s budget”, the financial document was approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs amid a row between the Centre and the AAP dispensation in the national capital over the issue.

“The MHA has approved the Budget and conveyed it to the Delhi government,” PTI quoted a source in its report.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot said that the budget file has been resent to the Union home ministry for approval.

“I inform this House with sadness and heaviness that the Centre stopped our Budget yesterday. The complete Budget with documents was sent to the MHA on March 10,” Delhi Finance Minister Kailash Gahlot said.

He said he learnt around 2 pm on Monday that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has raised some queries.

“I asked the chief secretary and the finance secretary several times and finally around 6 pm, I saw the file and it was sent to the LG (lieutenant governor), after the chief minister’s approval,” Gahlot said in the assembly. He added that nothing can be more unconstitutional and demanded a probe into the matter.

While raising the issue of the stalling of the Budget, he rued the elected government could not even pass it with Opposition BJP legislators walking out.

Chief Minister Kejriwal in the assembly said, “The budget had to be presented today. The Centre stopped it. We replied to MHA’s query without making any changes to the budget and they have approved it now. They wanted me to bow down. It’s their ego and nothing else.”

The issue created an uproar in the assembly with BJP MLA Vijender Gupta giving a notice for breach of privilege over alleged leak of Budget details, with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accusing him of attempting to disrupt House proceedings.

Subsequently, he was suspended from the assembly for a year till the next Budget session, after a motion moved by AAP MLA Sanjeev Jha was passed with majority.

Earlier in the day, Kejriwal made an emotional appeal to the prime minister through a letter.

“This is the first in the last 75 years that a state’s budget has been stalled. Why are you upset with Delhiites? Please don’t stall Delhi’s budget. With folded hands, Delhiites urge you to pass their budget,” the AAP national convener wrote in his letter.

The AAP said March 21 was a “black day” as the Delhi budget was stalled by the Centre “at the 11th hour”. It has never happened in the history of the country, the party said.

The BJP in Delhi slammed Kejriwal, accusing him of creating a row over the city government’s budget for “cheap publicity” and to hide his own mistakes.

(With PTI inputs)