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PM Modi says opposition has no 'real issue against advancing Budget'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday the opposition has no real issue against his government and defended the decision to advance presentation of the Union Budget, to be tabled on Wednesday, saying it will facilitate execution of more development work.

He also cited the inclusion of several “common achievers” among the Padma awardees this year to claim it had happened for the first time as earlier the honour would be bestowed on those doing the rounds of power corridors.

At a meeting of BJP parliamentary party executive, which was followed by another of NDA leaders, Modi said the early passage of budget would lead to early start of developmental works. Earlier these works would begin only after monsoon had ended, he said referring to the practise when the budget would be tabled in February and passed in May.

Opposition parties have slammed the decision to change the long-standing practise, alleging it was being done with an eye on the assembly polls in five states, including the key Hindi heartland state of Uttar Pradesh. “They have no issue against us,” he said, according to NDA sources.

He also asked party leaders to ensure maximum presence MPs during the session except for those busy campaigning in the elections.

Referring to President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said it outlined the government’s “pro-poor” vision with emphasis on the work being done for the poor, Dalits and other deprived sections.

He asked leaders to take the message conveyed in the address to the masses, saying it should be their answer to all opposition criticism. Naidu also referred to opinion polls carried out by media groups to insist that people had a favourable view of the government’s work. Sources said Shiv Sena sought more governmental help for cooperative societies, while another ally TDP supported the government’s stress on digitisation and demonetization exercise.