Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday claimed that pre-Budget meetings were being held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), not the Finance Ministry, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was not invited to even a single one of the total 13 meetings held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the Union Budget.
Addressing the media in Pune on Wednesday, Chavan claimed the upcoming Union Budget would be a “budget by PM Modi”, and not by Sitharaman.
He said if Modi wasn’t happy with the performance of Sitharaman, she should be replaced with a more competent person, but keeping the finance minister away from Union Budget discussions didn’t behoove well for the government’s image.
“Traditionally, pre-Budget meetings are conducted by Finance Ministry and discussions happen under the leadership of the finance minister. The minister might seek inputs from the Prime Minister while preparing the broad structure of the Budget. However, this year, it’s the first time in Indian history that meetings pertaining to the Union Budget are happening in the Prime Minister’s Office and the finance minister is not being invited to attend them. So far, a total of 13 meetings have taken place at the PMO, which were headed by PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. FM Sitharaman remained absent from these meetings, and some reason or the other was cited for it,” said Chavan.
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