Oppn steps up demand for postponing Budget

Azad leads delegation to CEC to seek change of date

Oppn steps up demand for postponing Budget

The Opposition parties on Thursday stepped up their demand for deferment of the Union Budget to sometime after the Assembly elections to five states, from its scheduled date of February 1.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, led a delegation of the Opposition leaders to meet Chief Election Commissioner S Nasim Zaidi in a follow-up of their December 23 memorandum seeking postponement of the Budget.

Ironically, it was at the instance of the then leader of the Opposition, Arun Jaitley, the present finance minister, that the then UPA government had postponed the presentation of the General Budget to March 16 in 2012. Jaitley had then argued that the government may get an unfair advantage in the elections to five states – Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Goa.

“We demand that there should be no presentation of the Budget till the elections are over,” Azad told reporters here. Azad’s deputy Anand Sharma, Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien, Ambeth Rajan (BSP), Naresh Agarwal (SP), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and K C Tyagi (JD-U) were part of the delegation.

BJP ally Shiv Sena too supported the demand for the postponement of the Budget. “The Budget should be postponed as elections are close. Allegations of appeasing the public can be levelled against the ruling party,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told reporters in Mumbai.

Jaitley had ruled out a rethink on the presentation of the Budget on February 1. On Tuesday, a day before the elections to five states were announced, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to convene the Budget session of Parliament from January 31 to February 9.

“There is no scope for a change; the Budget will be presented on February 1,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters here on Thursday.
The Election Commission has said it would examine the representation submitted to it by 16 political parties.

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