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The inaugural day of the 2018 Budget Session of the Uttar Pradesh legislature was marked by unruly scenes and slogan shouting amid Governor Ram Naik’s address to the joint sitting of both the houses. To attack Yogi Adityanath government over alleged farmers’ distress, legislators of principal opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) were seen sporting garland of potatoes amidst chanting of slogans censuring it for anti-farm policies and deteriorating law and order in the state. Some members also threw balloons in the house, while others darted paper balls towards the Governor’s podium. The house marshals had a tough time batting off these projectiles with file folders even an unfazed Naik continued with his speech. The members were also holding posters and placards written with anti-government messages. However, the Governor expressed displeasure at such conduct and urged the members to exhibit civilised behaviour in the house. In his speech, Naik mentioned various programmes of the BJP government in the sectors of agriculture, education, health, power and industrial development. Later, Adityanath also flayed the opposition members for showing disrespect to the Governor and acting against the people’s mandate. Following continued din and disruption, the two houses of the UP legislature were adjourned till Friday by the respective speakers. The leader of the opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary castigated the state government for its alleged one-sided action in the Kasganj incident, which occurred on the Republic Day, in which a youth of the majority community had died of bullet wounds.
He also claimed that farmers’ condition was worsening every day and the government was a lame duck.Meanwhile, the Budget Session, which started on Thursday, would continue beyond the second week of March. The Adityanath government would table its second UP Annual Budget 2018 on February 16, which is expected to give major focus to rural sector apart from other social segments. This would be the first full year budget of the BJP government, since the previous budget was presented only in July 2017 after it came to power in March 2017. A senior cabinet minister told Business Standard that the UP Budget would be along the lines of the Union Budget 2018 so far as the focus on the farm sector and the rural economy was concerned. Meanwhile, UP Annual Budget is likely to hit the Rs 4.25 trillion mark. This would be a hike of over 10 per cent over the previous Annual Budget size of Rs 3.84 trillion. The Budget is expected to be populist with liberal doses for the agricultural, infrastructure and social sectors. In its maiden Budget, the Adityanath government had provided funds for the flagship crop loan waiver scheme of Rs 360 billion. Due to this heavy payout and in the absence of any central dole, the state had to compromise on other welfare and development schemes.