Interim budget a ‘second surgical strike’, say BJP allies. Rahul Gandhi’s riposte
Finance minister Piyush Goyal’s maiden budget where announced schemes for farmers and the middle class drew applause from NDA leaders with some calling it a “second surgical strike” on the opposition. Congress president Rahul Gandhi though had a different take.
The Congress chief refused to believe that the Budget was a surgical strike. “There will be surgical strikes on Modi government in a few months in the elections,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi also asked Piyush Goyal why he didn’t speak about rising unemployment during his Budget speech. A National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report, leaked to the media, recently suggested that unemployment in the country was at a 45-year high during 2017-18.
Piyush Goyal rolled out the NDA government’s last budget ahead of the 2019 elections, announcing no tax on income up to Rs 5 lakh, a Rs 6,000 per year cash benefit for small farmers and a mega pension scheme for workers in the unorganised sector. The initiatives are designed to woo the middle class, address farm distress and boost private investment in an effort to shore up the political base of the BJP-led coalition.
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Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi said the Rs 6,000 cash scheme for farmers will be beneficial for a state like Bihar where average land holdings is less than one hectare. “The budget has made the opposition, which was involved in baseless attacks, speechless,” he said.
NDA ally and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan said nobody has ever thought of a cash transfer scheme for farmers.
“This is ‘surgical strike 2’ from Prime Minister Modi. The first surgical strike occurred on the border. Jawans fought it with bullets. Here, we will fight with ballots. We will win over 400 seats and the NDA government will be formed again. Narendra Modi will again become the Prime Minister of India. This budget has brought a huge relief for farmers of the country,” Paswan told ANI.