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Opp demands Budget after state polls

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, Jan 5 - Contending that the presentation of the Union Budget ahead of the ensuing Assembly elections in five states will give an unfair advantage to the BJP and its allies, seven Opposition parties today approached the Election Commission (EC) to demand that the fiscal exercise be deferred till after March 8.

Instead of usual February 28, the Budget this year is scheduled to be presented on February 1, only days before the Assembly elections get under way in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur between February 4 and March 8.

A delegation comprising leaders of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal-United, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the DMK met Chief Election Commissioner Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi here today.

While the Communist Party of India-Marxist did not joint the delegation, party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury expressed his reservation on the matter and hoped the EC and the President will take note and �reverse� the decision on the Budget.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media, �We told the EC that allowing the government to present the Budget ahead of polls will give unfair advantage to the BJP and its allies and how the exercise can be used to influence voters.�

�The EC gave us all a patient hearing,� said Azad.

As for the government�s unwillingness to move the Budget presentation date, Azad said, �If they don�t accept our demand, it means they don�t want the polls to be fair. Then it is not democracy. Democracy requires all parties to have a level playing field.�

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Derek O�Brien hoped that the Election Commission will address their concerns. �There is enough time to present the Budget after March 8. That is the fair way to do it. Not only the EC has to be fair, but it has to be seen to be fair. We are optimistic,� said O�Brien. � IANS

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Opp demands Budget after state polls

NEW DELHI, Jan 5 - Contending that the presentation of the Union Budget ahead of the ensuing Assembly elections in five states will give an unfair advantage to the BJP and its allies, seven Opposition parties today approached the Election Commission (EC) to demand that the fiscal exercise be deferred till after March 8.

Instead of usual February 28, the Budget this year is scheduled to be presented on February 1, only days before the Assembly elections get under way in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur between February 4 and March 8.

A delegation comprising leaders of the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal-United, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the DMK met Chief Election Commissioner Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi here today.

While the Communist Party of India-Marxist did not joint the delegation, party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury expressed his reservation on the matter and hoped the EC and the President will take note and �reverse� the decision on the Budget.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the media, �We told the EC that allowing the government to present the Budget ahead of polls will give unfair advantage to the BJP and its allies and how the exercise can be used to influence voters.�

�The EC gave us all a patient hearing,� said Azad.

As for the government�s unwillingness to move the Budget presentation date, Azad said, �If they don�t accept our demand, it means they don�t want the polls to be fair. Then it is not democracy. Democracy requires all parties to have a level playing field.�

Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member Derek O�Brien hoped that the Election Commission will address their concerns. �There is enough time to present the Budget after March 8. That is the fair way to do it. Not only the EC has to be fair, but it has to be seen to be fair. We are optimistic,� said O�Brien. � IANS