Updated: January 4, 2017 9:00:58 pm
Ruling out any change in date of Union budget after criticism from some opposition parties as it falls before Assembly polls, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that there is no requirement for a delay. “Even in 2014, the budget was presented before the polls,” said Jaitley. Reacting to the opposition of poll dates from parties like Congress, BSP and SP, Jaitley said “These are the same parties which say there has been no positive effect of demonetisation so why are they worried about date of budget.”
Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur will be held between February 4 and March 8. While polling will be spread over seven phases in Uttar Pradesh, it will be a one-day affair in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa, and a two-day exercise in Manipur. Counting of votes will be taken up together in all the states on March 11, the Election Commission announced today setting in process the mega political exercise in the new year.
Expressing apprehension that voters could be influenced through announcements in the Union Budget, BSP chief Mayawati asked the Election Commission to instruct the Centre to present the general budget only after completion of polling in all the five states in March.
“The EC should instruct the central government not to present the general budget on February 1 and just as 2012, it be presented only after the completion of polling on March 8,” Mayawati said in a party release here. “Voters can be influenced through the budget and thereby free and fair elections can be effected,” she said.
Naresh Agrawal, who was recently expelled by Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh in the midst of feud within the ruling party of Uttar Pradesh, insisted the EC to see the budget session announced by the central government be postponed to ensure that the voters do not get influenced. “The manner in which the budget session has been convened in between the polls, we will urge the Election Commission to get it postponed, the way 2012 budget session was postponed, to ensure free and fair poll,” Agarwal said.
The Congress also said that the government will be making some lofty announcements in the budget in a bid to lure voters. “Fearing defeat and leaving aside the good traditions of Parliament, Prime Minister Modi wants to present the budget in the poll atmosphere. The public knows it all and Prime Minister will not be successful in his plans,” Congress leader Alok Kumar said.
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