New Delhi: On a day when it announced the schedule for elections in five states, the Election Commission (EC) said it was ‘examining’ a representation by various political parties with regard to presentation of the Union budget on 1 February, ahead of polling in these states.
Elections to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur assemblies are to be held between 4 February and 8 March, with counting of votes to be taken up on 11 March.
“The EC has received one representation sent by some political parties which is in regards to presentation of the (Union) budget. The commission is examining this representation and we will take a call on this in due course of time,” chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters in reply to a question on whether the EC will ask for delaying the presentation of the budget.
In the representation, some political parties have requested the EC to disallow presentation of the Union budget during the poll campaign as announcements made as part of it could influence voters.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley did not foresee any impact of the election schedule on budget presentation. He pointed out at a press conference on Wednesday that even before the 2014 general elections, an interim budget was presented by the Union government.
Post the announcement of the poll schedule, opposition parties including the Congress, Left, Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), as well as Shiv Sena, a partner in the National Democratic Alliance, have flagged concerns and sought a change in the Union budget date.
The Congress along with several other opposition parties had earlier written to President Pranab Mukherjee and requested that budget presentation should happen after the polls to avoid “disruption, inconvenience and undue influence on the voters”.