Mumbai: The Opposition on Tuesday staged a walk-out in both Houses of Maharashtra legislature, alleging that the state's budget for 2019-20 was "leaked" on the Twitter handle of Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar before he presented it in the Assembly.
This was an "insult" of legislators, the Opposition members said and demanded an apology from Mungantiwar and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over it.
"We were in power for 15 years, but the budget never got leaked. Now the budget provisions were being put out on the finance minister's Twitter account along with advertisement even before he read out those to us," NCP MLA Ajit Pawar told reporters.
"That means the team handling the minister's Twitter account had the details. This means the budget got leaked to them first. This is an insult of the members. Both Mungantiwar and Fadnavis should apologise," the former state finance minister said.
Congress MLA and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan seconded Pawar. "In other countries, the finance minister would have resigned had the budget got leaked," he said. Leader of Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said both Mungantiwar and Minister of State for Finance Deepak Kesarkar should resign.
Opposition legislators from both Houses staged a protest against the "leak" on the premises of the legislature complex.
The budget was presented simultaneously by Mungantiwar and Kesarkar in the Assembly and Council, respectively. When Kesarkar rose to present the budget in the Upper House, Munde waved his mobile phone and read out from it some budget details which he claimed were posted on Mungantiwar's Twitter account.
Following a ruckus over the issue, Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar adjourned the House for 10 minutes. When the proceedings resumed, revenue minister Chandrakant Patil of the BJP, who is the leader of the House, said he would move a no-confidence motion against Nimbalkar, saying "we have come to the conclusion that the House chairman cannot protect our rights".
Speaking to reporters outside, Ajit Pawar said the opposition expected the government to shower promises in the budget as the Assembly polls were around the corner. "But when it comes to implementing the promises, they will cite the election code of conduct," he said.