Opposition parties throng EC, urge to stop Budget presentation ahead of polls
Polls will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur from February 4.
United opposition parties on Thursday knock on Election Commission's door to stop Budget session before the state assembly polls that was announced yesterday for five states, while Union Finance Minister called it a "constitutional requirement".
Oppositions-Congress, Trinamool, Samajwadi Party, Mayawati's BSP, Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United and Lalu Yadav's RJD met the Election Commission.
"Subject : budget date too close to polls," tweeted Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien, ahead of the meeting.
Polls have been scheduled in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur from February 4, less than 72 hours after the budget is announced. The results will be declared on March 11.
Opposition parties say the budget must be presented well after the results, or the government can sway voters with populist announcements while the ruling government sticks to its stand.
Nasim Zaidi, who heads the Election Commission, on Wednesday, said that, it has been asked to stop the government from sharing its budget before the elections are held.
"The Election Commission has a mandate that they should not allow any situation in which the conduct of free and fair elections is subverted," said Congress leader Anand Sharma.
BJP has said that there is no reason to postpone the budget as "every year, some election or the other takes place."
"Even in 2014, the budget was presented before the polls," said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday. The government decided to advance the date of the general budget to ensure proposals take effect from April 1.