New Delhi, January 7: Following ‘model code of conduct,’ Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked Union Government to clear its stance by January 10, on opposition parties’ demand of postponing budget presentation post assembly polls in 5 states.
ECI has written to Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha for Modi Government’s stand on the issue of presenting budget after March 8. The commission wants to know Centre’s views and reasons for rescheduling the Budget session one month before the regular deadline.
Just a day before the written query was sent by ECI, leaders from more than a dozen of Opposition parties led by Congress met all 3 Election Commissioners, Dr Nasim Zaidi, OP Rawat and AK Joti.
The delegation had requested the poll panel to prevent Modi government from presenting the Union Budget on February 1, just three days before the beginning of Assembly elections as the government can use Budget sops to appease voters and gain an unfair advantage in the elections.
The Opposition parties also contacted President Pranab Mukherjee for intervention on the matter.
In 2012, when assembly elections in these states were due for election, the budget was postponed to mid-March.
Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad said in 2012, the then Opposition BJP had objected to the presentation of the Budget by UPA government in the midst of the election campaign in these same five states and the UPA government accepted the Opposition’s demand and the Budget was presented on March 16 instead of February 28.
Read More: Opposition parties meet EC, demand polls after March 8
However, the Central government is adamant to pre-pone Budget. It was surprising when Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that the Opposition’s demand for delaying budget is “anti-people” as the budget is for the country and not specific to poll bound states.
“There can be no concession to any political party, this is against the constitution and the ideal of democracy. We said that to ensure fair elections, the budget must be deferred to after the election results on March 11,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after meeting EC on Wednesday.