Complete chaos and a walkout by a united opposition was the strong picture of the one-day monsoon assembly session at the Goa Assembly complex in Porvorim on Monday.
The government, under Pramod Sawant, passed the state budget of Rs. 21,056 crores for the current financial year 2020-2021, without having any discussion or consultation with the opposition into confidence.
The opposition accused the BJP-led government of complete lapses in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in the state.
The monsoon assembly, curtailed to just a day, witnessed an ugly turn after the speaker of the house, Rajesh Patnekar rejected an adjournment motion moved by opposition leader Digambar Kamat as ‘not being in order.’
This was followed by strong protests by a united opposition, who stormed the well of the house, shouting ‘shame, shame’ at the government.
After being escorted out of the house by marshals, the opposition leaders visited the governor, Satya Pal Malik, and submitted a letter to him calling this a ‘murder of democracy.’
“Today, the Goa government has murdered democracy by rejecting a discussion on the Covid-19 pandemic and passing the state budget for 2020-21 without proper discussion in the legislative assembly. The government displayed its insensitive approach towards the health and well-being of the people of Goa, by rejecting the adjournment motion moved by the opposition MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) demanding a discussion on the pandemic” the letter said.
Goa Forward Party leader Vijai Sardesai said, “They are passing Bills with no opposition, no discussion in a hurry. We have been asking for a discussion on measures to tackle COVID. The government’s only response is co-morbidities as the reason for death.”
However, the government defended itself saying, that the opposition should come forward with constructive criticism.
“The opposition should come with constructive suggestions. It is easy to criticise. But the Covid-19 outbreak didn’t occur in a planned manner. It has taken everybody by surprise. The standard operating procedures (SOPs) put out by the state government is in the interest of the public,” said state health minister Vishwajit Rane in the assembly.
He also added that the state is one of the best in the country as far as conducting tests per million population is concerned.
The government meanwhile, cleared 11 government bills without any cut motions and discussions, in addition to the state budget and Demands for Grants. This has probably been a record amount of business transacted in a single day in the Goa Legislative Assembly with empty opposition benches.
Leader of Opposition, Digambar Kamat expressed his anguish tweeted saying, “With Hon’ble Speaker rejecting our Adjournment motion, it is clear that @GovtofGoa is afraid to discuss the handling of COVID pandemic and sufferings of the people in Goa. For @BJP4Goa, Wealth is health.”
With Hon'ble Speaker rejecting our Adjournment Motion, It is clear @GovtofGoa is afraid to discuss handling of Covid Pandemic & Sufferings of the People in Goa. For @BJP4Goa " Wealth is Health". @INCGoa pic.twitter.com/fAggG65Em9
— Digambar Kamat (@digambarkamat) July 27, 2020
“In a democracy, a discussion has to take place. Today, he (Health Minister Vishwajit Rane) makes a statement that everything is fine. There is no transparency when it comes to Covid-19 and it is the only issue that should be discussed in the House. If we can’t do this then why have the House? Why do we need the House? Dissolve it,” said Vijai Sardesai.
The opposition has asked the governor to deny assent to the Bills passed in the Assembly on Monday.