In lengthy tirade against the finance minister, NC leader calls Budget a ‘tale of fiction’
Jammu: A day after Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu claimed to have presented his “most significant” budget, National Conference legislator Devender Singh Rana said in the state assembly that Drabu juggles with words and has written “a new tale of fiction”.
“Romanticism seems to appeal to Haseeb Drabu,” said Rana. “Every time we go through dark and blind alleys, he shows us the glimmer of hope and light at the end of the tunnel.”
“(But) we realise, at the end of the tunnel, that it is all dark, dark, dark,” Rana said. “Go back, it is dark, then he says, and holds our finger to take us forward. But it is also dark there, and then he writes a new tale of fiction.”
Rana even said that Drabu had sold his soul. “Drabu would talk of Kashmiri nationalism… he is my old friend. He would call himself nationalist, but he is subsumed in the saffron colour so much that he has sold his soul.”
The statement created a sensation in the assembly. Speaker Kavinder Gupta had to lighten the mood by saying: “I am secular.”
Rana, the Nagrota MLA and NC’s Jammu head, said that Drabu “mortgaged” his soul when he brought the Goods and Services Tax to Jammu and Kashmir. “You have become so much saffronised that you trying to saffronise Kashmir,” Rana said, addressing Drabu.
“He has become such a champion of the ‘one nation, one tax’ theory that he fought the war of Delhi in Kashmir, where everyone was against the GST,” Rana said of the finance minister.
“We lost that thing jis ki aap bahut shaan say baat kar rahay thay… (late) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) sahab had termed this House as the most powerful in the (Indian) federation,” Rana said.
Rana said the Budget was “meant for the rich, famous and the influential”. He accused Drabu of corporatising every sector. “We were told about business incubators but neither are there any incubators, nor industries,” he said, adding that nothing has been proposed for rural industries. “Our economy is agri-based,” he said, reminding Drabu of his promise to bring in a law to stop conversion of agricultural land to commercial use.
“I am showing you the skeletons in your budget… I am showing you the mirror,” he told Drabu, who arrived late by 19 minutes to the House. Rana had refused to speak until the finance minister was there to listen.
Attendance was so low in the House that it barely made the quorum. The day’s proceedings started late by at least 15 minutes.
Rana said that the government has shown less spending in the last fiscal, but “it was not because of your
(Drabu’s) kaabiliyat (competence)”.
“You have written a beautiful afsaana (fiction),” Rana said of the Budget document. “You have beautifully painted the growth story.”
Rana said that Drabu did not fulfil the promise of ending “March madness”. “Your system is showing no efficiency,” he said. “50% of the total money was spent in the last quarter, which should have been only 30%.”
The 58-minute speech of Rana witnessed several interruptions by PDP’s Javed Mustafa Mir. But Rana ignored him and instead addressed Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference. “Sajad Lone, my brother and friend, be cautious,” he told the former Hurriyat Conference leader who now sits besides Drabu in the House.
“He is an excellent marketing man, a manager of perception… an intellectual,” Rana told the House about Drabu. “Practically, somewhere he stumbles… the speed of his mind is so fast that others are left behind.”
“You are the architect of the GST in J&K who compromised the state’s fiscal autonomy,” Rana told Drabu. “Don’t sell stories… be a man,” he counselled.