Opposition parties on Thursday met with the Election Commission to express reservations over the date of the presentation of the Union Budget. The parties – including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Janata Dal (United) – want the date to be deferred to March 8 to avoid any effect on the coming assembly elections in five states. What is the row about?
When will the government present its Budget this year?
The NDA government will place the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha on February 1, pushing the schedule ahead by three weeks. Earlier the budget was announced on the last day of February.
Why are Opposition parties protesting against the Budget date?
The Election Commission announced the poll schedule for five states with polling in Goa and Punjab slated on February 4. The Opposition is alleging that it is too close to the Budget day. They are hinting that the budget announcements may have a direct impact on the polling. They met the Election Commission to demand a change in the poll date or budget day.
How was the Budget date fixed?
The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, met on January 3 and decided to call the session from January 31 and to present the Budget on February 1.
In a way, the government avoided a collision with the EC’s announcement for poll schedule.
What had happened when UP, Punjab and other states went to polls the last time?
UP, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand faced assembly polls in the first quarter of 2012. That year, the UPA government presented its budget on March 16, after the polling was over.
What can the EC do now?
The poll panel can change the voting dates for Goa and Punjab. It is well within its purview. It may also request the Centre to reconsider the Budget date but it is unlikely that the Budget schedule will be changed.