Prithviraj Chavan claims FM not being invited for pre-Budget meets by PMO
Almost 13 meetings were conducted without her, the Congress leader claimedUpdated: Jan 23, 2020 16:34 IST
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday claimed that pre-Budget meetings are being held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), but finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is not being invited. Almost 13 meetings were conducted without her, he claimed.
Chavan said, “Both the prime minister and the home minister conducted 13 pre-Budget meetings and did not invite finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for it. She was not even present for the meeting with industrialists. It is wrong to insult the finance minister.”
The Union budget would be presented on February 1. “Traditionally, pre-Budget meetings are conducted by the finance ministry. The entire Budget process happens at the finance ministry, under the finance minister’s guidance,” Chavan, who was a minister in the PMO during the UPA years, said.
Chavan said that it is clear that as the finance minister has not been involved in the budget preparations, this year’s budget would be according to the prime minister. “The finance minister will only read the speech, the budget will be the one planned by PM Narendra Modi. If the prime minister is not happy with Sitharaman, instead of insulting her, he should replace her,” he added.
Chavan also attacked on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on issues related to the economy.
Chavan reiterates Sena’s 2014 coalition proposal despite opposition from Cong party members
Chavan on Wednesday reiterated his claim that the Shiv Sena did propose a coalition government with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 2014.
Chavan on January 20 had stated that the Shiv Sena had proposed to form a coalition government with his party and the NCP after the 2014 assembly election to stop the BJP from coming to power in the state. But the Congress had immediately rejected the proposal then, Chavan had said.
Chavan’s remark invited strong reactions from the Congress and the Shiv Sena, who rejected the claim and the Bharatiya Janata Party slammed its former ally, the Sena, for being “opportunistic”.
On Wednesday at a press conference in the city, when Chavan was confronted with opposing views from his own party members, who slammed his remarks, he said, “I stand by my statement and remain firm about it.”
The Congress leader, however, did not disclose names of Sena leaders who approached him with the coalition proposal in 2014. He said, “Media should check facts of the 2014 and 2019 assembly election results. If my own party leaders denied the statement, I don’t want to comment on it anymore.”
Views on cabinet berth
When Chavan was asked if he was interested in joining the Maharashtra cabinet, he said that he was willing to serve the people from whichever platform is available to him. “The party has previously given me a chance to work as the chief minister and also as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in the past,” he said.
(With agency inputs)