Election Commission seeks Centre's reply on Budget postponement plea

Instead of usual February 28, the Budget this year is scheduled to be presented on February 1, only days before the assembly elections go underway in five states between February 4 and March 8.

Election Commission seeks Centre

After opposition parties knocks on Election Commission of India's door seeking postponement of budget presentation date, the poll body has sought Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha's reply on the matter.

According to a report in Indian Express , the ECI has written a letter to Sinha on the issue and has asked him to respond to the plea by January 10. The ECI is believed to have asked the Centre to explain why it wants to advance the budget session for it to take an informed decision on the matter.

Opposition leaders from the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), DMK, Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) visited the Election Commission Thursday to protest the Union Budget date, as it was being announced before the Assembly elections in five states.

The Opposition requested the EC to ensure that the Budget is held after assembly elections in five states - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur - conclude on March 8.

“Populist measures could be taken in the Budget, so a just and fair election cannot be held,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad said after meeting EC officials.

“We demand that the Budget be presented after March 8, which is when polling for elections will be over,” he added.

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced seven-phase polling for 403 assembly constituencies in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, two-phase polling in Manipur and one-phase polling each in the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa respectively.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said that the counting of votes in all the five states will take place on March 11.