Unconstitutional for govt to present full budget: Sinha

Unconstitutional for govt to present full budget: Sinha

Taking a swipe at the government over present economic conditions, he said it would now claim by "tweaking" figures ahead of the general election that "river of milk" is flowing in the country and people were never happier. (File Photo)

BJP-critic and former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Monday warned the Narendra Modi government against presenting a "full-fledged" budget ahead of Lok Sabha polls, saying it will be a "direct violation" of Constitutional conventions.

Sinha also said institutions in the country like the Cabinet have "ceased to exist" and power has been concentrated on "one person (Modi) and in one office (Prime Minister's Office).

Interacting with journalists at a 'meet the press' organised by Indian Women Press Corp, Sinha also felt that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi's entry in Uttar Pradesh would have "greater" impact but wanted more time to say whether it would adversely impact BJP or the SP-BSP combine.

He warned that stories of Modi government's corruption could come in public domain later citing that the graft by UPA-1 was unravelled during UPA-2 period. "So many wrongdoers have fled the country during this government and it is unprecedented," he said.

Amid reports that government may come up with a full-fledged budget, he said, "if the government brings in Finance Bill (which contains income tax proposals), it will be for the first time we are seeing that. It is in direct violation of the longstanding conventions of the Constitution. It is entirely improper and unconstitutional for an outgoing government to present a full budget."

When asked whether the government can bring out a statement of intent but decline to put it in Finance Bill, he said he does not have a problem with the government making its last budget a "BJP manifesto" but it should be without financial provisions.

He said the senior Cabinet ministers in the government were not taken into confidence and the "Cabinet has ceased to exist". 

"The Defence Minister did not know about Rafale deal... we don't see the External Affairs Minister accompanying the Prime Minister when he goes abroad... the Finance Minister and Chief Economic Advisor didn't know about demonetisation...the Home Minister did not know about withdrawal support to PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir," he said.

Talking about institutions, he said the appointment process of judges by the Supreme Court collegium is in a "mess" while "less said the better" about the RBI and CBI.

Asked about Priyanka, he said she already had an impact on politics despite being not active and when she enters fully-fledged, it would have a greater impact.

On whether her campaign would adversely affect SP-BSP, he said it is to be seen whether her entry would affect the BJP prospects or the Opposition alliance. "But then there is something called tactical alliance, which can be forged," he said indicating that the SP-BSP could enter into an understanding with Congress in some seats where one of them is really weak.