Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

No Budget before polls: Opposition to Election Commission

The government has time till March 31 to get the Budget passed. Parliament can take up other business till then.

punjab assembly polls, 2017 punjab elections, election commission, ec code of conduct, punjab news, india news, indian express Election Commission. (File Photo)

Opposition parties led by the Congress on Thursday approached the Election Commission, asking it to prevent the NDA government from presenting the Union Budget on February 1 — just three days before the commencement of Assembly polls in five states — arguing that the government may announce “populist” schemes which would give it an unfair advantage in the elections.

Led by Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, leaders of seven parties — Congress, TMC, SP, BSP, JD(U), RJD and DMK — met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and asked the poll panel to direct the government to postpone Budget presentation to a day after March 8, the last date of polling in UP.

“We don’t have any objection to the government convening the Budget Session from January 31…But the Budget should be presented only after March 8. The government has time till March 31 to get the Budget passed. Parliament can take up other business till then. There can be discussion on the President’s Address, Bills can be taken up and other discussions can take place,” Azad said after the meeting.

The Election Commission did not immediately give any assurance to the delegation. “They listened to each one of us,” Azad said.

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“There is a simple solution. Present the Budget after March 8 and get it passed before March 31… That is the fair way to do it,” TMC’s Derek O’Brien said.

The Opposition has also sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention on the issue. Azad said that in 2012, then Opposition BJP had objected to presentation of the Budget by UPA government in the midst of the election campaign in these same five states. “The UPA accepted the Opposition’s demand and the Budget was presented on March 16 instead of February 28,” he said.

The government, he said, gets an advantage if it is allowed to present the Budget as it can announce populist measures.

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Left leaders were not part of the delegation. While the CPI(M) is busy with its politburo and central committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, none of the CPI leaders were in Delhi. Senior CPI leader D Raja said Azad contacted him on Wednesday night but he was in Chennai.

First published on: 06-01-2017 at 04:06:38 am
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