The Amethi food park cancellation issue, raked by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on May 7, continued to raise heat on the last day of the Budget session of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
The Congress alleged that some mega projects cleared by the UPA government are being “stalled”.
Protesting against Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s accusation of “vengeance politics”, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani (who lost the Amethi seat to Rahul last year) countered the charge, joined in by some party MPs, leading to two adjournments in quick succession.
The issue gathered heat when Kharge said some mega projects cleared by the previous UPA government were being “directly or indirectly” cancelled or stalled.
He listed out projects, such as the ₹3,000-crore Indira Gandhi canal project in Nagaur, Rajasthan, where progress was “zero” and “no funds had been sanctioned”. He also pointed to the 1,000-bedded National Cancer Institute as part of an expansion of the AIIMS in Delhi.Deliberate delay
“You decide whether this is deliberate delay or not,” he appealed to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, adding that “development is in question.” He went on to refer to Badal’s statement on Tuesday on the reasons for cancellation of the Amethi food park.
On Tuesday, the Food Processing Minister had said that the Shaktiman Mega Food Park Pvt Ltd in Amethi was cancelled after the promoter company expressed inability to pursue it in the absence of natural gas, whose allocation was denied by the UPA government in December 2012.
Kharge’s statement led to a ruckus as Badal, Irani and BJP member Kirit Somaiya protested and sought permission for Badal to speak on the issue.
Even after the Speaker disallowed this, the verbal duel continued between BJP and Congress members, leading to an adjournment.
When the House re-assembled, the Speaker allowed Badal to table her response, drawing sharp reactions from Congress members.
With six Bills listed for consideration and passing, the Speaker pacified the Congress MPs and urged Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha to take up the Negotiable Instruments Bill. However, some BJP members continued to raise slogans, alleging that Kharge was misleading the House.
A visibly annoyed Speaker then adjourned the House again.