Gujarat Assembly passes two bills on day one,
According to Jignesh Mevani, a Congress MLA, the youth of the state have a bleak future as the government is protecting those responsible for the recurring paper leaks I Pc: Wikimedia Commons

Gujarat Assembly passes two bills on day one

In a dramatic beginning to the budget session of Gujarat Assembly, Congress MLAs staged a protest as they entered the Assembly on February 23. Amidst slogans against the BJP government, the Congress demanded a law against the culprits responsible for rampant question paper leaks of recruitment examinations in the state.

“When the government is shielding the culprits behind the frequent paper leaks, what future do the youth hold in this state,” stated Jignesh Mevani, Congress MLA from Vadgam, Banaskantha.

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The Gujarat Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) bill 2023 was tabled by Harsh Sanghvi, Minister of State for Home on the first day of the assembly session and cleared with majority votes. Following this, Rushikesh Patel, Minister for Health, tabled a bill to amend the Gujarat Regularization of Unauthorized Development Act, 2022.

The state government had enacted the Gujarat Regularization of Unauthorized Development Act 2022 on October 17, 2022 so that any applicant can apply to regularise the unauthorised development in municipal corporation and municipalities in the state within a limit of four months.

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“The period of the said four months expired on February 16, 2013. Hence the government finds it insufficient time to carry out the objective and considers it necessary to extend the time period,” the draft of the bill tabled by Patel stated.

First session

This is the first assembly session for the newly formed Bhupendra Patel led BJP government. The state budget was presented from 11 am on February 24, by State Finance Minister Kanubhai Desai.

Noticeably, for the first time in Gujarat, the session shall be conducted without an officially designated Leader of Opposition in the State assembly.

Congress that won 17 seats in the state polls last year was refused the status of the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. Under 30(1) provision of the Gujarat assembly act, the opposition party requires at least 10 percent of MLAs in the assembly to get the status of Leader of the Opposition. With Gujarat assembly having a strength of 182 MLAs, Congress would require 18 MLAs at least to get the position of Leader of the Opposition.

Last month, Congress appointed Anklav MLA and former GPCC President Amit Chavda as its legislative party leader who wrote to Assembly speaker Shankar Chaudhary for appointing him as LoP for representing the second largest party in the assembly. However, Chavda’s repeated request was rejected by the speaker Shankar Choudhary while informing him that since he didn’t have the required number of seats, the question of accepting him as LoP didn’t arise.

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Meanwhile, Congress criticised the decision and said that as per “rule and tradition” the post of the LoP of the Gujarat Assembly has always been recognised despite not having requisite numbers.

“During the Congress regime led by Chimanbhai Patel in 1985, the post of LoP was recognized by the government despite the BJP having only 14 seats. Today, the BJP government despite having the huge majority of 156 seats has refused to recognise LoP against the tradition of the state assembly,” Manish Doshi, Congress State Spokesperson, said.

The post of the Leader of the Opposition is equal to the Cabinet minister in terms of perks and pay. The leader of the opposition is allotted a bungalow in the ministerial enclave.

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