The Election Commission of India (ECI) has written to cabinet secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha seeking central government’s stance on the oppositions’ demand to postpone the Budget presentation ahead of Assembly election in five states. Oppositions demanded that Budget must be postponed to a day after March 8, the last date of polling in Uttar Pradesh.
Taking a note of the oppositions’ request, the Election Commission on Saturday asked union government to clarify its stand by January 10 on oppositions' demand.
Recently, opposition parties’ including Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Janata Dal United (JDU) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) urged the election commission to ask government to postpone the budget till the assembly elections in five states are over.
The Union budget for the fiscal 2016-17 will be presented on February 1.
The opposition parties have earlier sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention on the issue. Opposition on many instances was seeing quoting BJP’s 2012 stance when UPA II had to postpone the budget presentation 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,” said Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad.
However, the Centre also cleared its stance and had said that union government is committed to present the Budget as per the schedule. Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday called said the Opposition’s demand “anti-people” and said that the Budget is for the country and would not be state specific.
Opposition said BJP could gain extra votes by presentation Budget on February 1 as many sops could be announced to woo voters in these five states and also Budget midst assembly elections is a direct violation of Model code of conduct.
Youth Congress activists on Friday tried to stage a march towards Election Commission's office in central Delhi to protest the government's decision to present the Union Budget on February 1, three days ahead of voting in Punjab and Goa.
They began their march from their party office but were detained by police before they could reach the EC's office. The activists charged that the government move to present the budget just days ahead of voting in five states was aimed at benefiting the ruling BJP in the states going to polls.