Day after SC says Budget okay before election, EC tells Centre to drop schemes for poll-bound states

The Commission cited a 2009 advisory to all the States and Union Territories on the introduction of the Budget (2009-10) in which it had advised that in cases of poll-going States, a vote-on-account should be taken.

Day after SC says Budget okay before election, EC tells Centre to drop schemes for poll-bound states

Giving the nod to the presentation of Union Budget as scheduled on February 1, Election Commission also asked the Government to refrain from announcing schemes for poll-bound states.

“It may be ensured that in the Budget speech, the government’s achievements in respect of the said five States [Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab, Manipur and Uttarakhand] will also not be highlighted in any manner,” said the EC order.


The Commission cited a 2009 advisory to all the States and Union Territories on the introduction of the Budget (2009-10) in which it had advised that in cases of poll-going States, a vote-on-account should be taken.

EC said that the government should maintain a level playing field and not announce any programme that would have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the ruling party.

A delegation of the Opposition parties had petitioned the Election Commission on January 5 seeking a recommendation to the Centre to defer the Budget presentation. The Commission sought a response, in which the government defended its decision to present the Budget on February 1 stating that it was an annual constitutional exercise with respect to all the States.

Furthermore, the government explained that the decision to advance the date of presentation stating that this would ensure that budgetary allocations were made available for expeditious implementation of the projects.

The Election Commission has asked the Centre to ensure that no schemes specific to the five election-bound States were announced in the Union Budget in the interest of fair polls. “It may be ensured that in the budget, the government’s achievements in respect of the five States... will not be highlighted,” the EC order said.