The upcoming budget session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly will see the customary inaugural address by the Governor on February 16, the first day of the session.
Interestingly, this will be the shortest budget session in the history of the State with only eight working days.
But questions are being raised as to whether Governor Phagu Chauhan will stick to Hindi while addressing the House or shift to English which is the official language of the State.
It may be recalled that on March 20, 2023, the Assembly saw massive disruption during Chauhan’s speech as his address in Hindi enraged the MLAs of the Voice of the People’s Party (VPP). VPP legislator Ardent M. Basaiawmoit stood up and said that Meghalaya is not a Hindi-speaking state and the Governor’s speech in Hindi is against the sentiments of the people. Later, all four VPP MLAs walked out from the House in protest.
However, Assembly Speaker Thomas A. Sangma allowed the Governor to continue the address in Hindi since a written speech in English was circulated among all the members.
Meanwhile, the calendar of this year’s budget session has been finalised by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) today.
As per the calendar, the House will debate on the address of the Governor on February 19. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma will reply to the debate on February 21.
On the same day, the budget for 2024-25 will be presented by the chief minister.
The House will debate on the budget on February 23 and 27. In the afternoon of the same day the chief minister will give his reply and the budget will be passed.
While five days have been allotted for government business, only three days are listed for private members’ business. These are on February 20, 22 and 26.
Only in these three days, the MLAs especially those from the opposition can raise the issues of public importance through bills, motions and resolutions.