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Budget date too close to polls, Opposition parties to knock Election Commission's door

A united opposition will visit the office of the Election Commission on Thursday to discuss about the date of the Budget Session.

“Trinamool, Congress, SP, BSP, JDU, RJD & some other Opposition parties to meet Election Commission 11 am. Subject : budget date too close to polls,” O’Brien tweeted.

“Three from Trinamool to be part of Opposition party delegation to meet Election Commissioner in Delhi: Derek O’Brien, Dinesh Trivedi, Saugato Roy,” he added.

The Budget Session of the Parliament will begin from February 1.

The Election Commission on Tuesday announced seven-phase polling for 403 assembly constituencies in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, two-phase polling in Manipur and one-phase polling each in the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa respectively.

While the Election Commission said it will examine a representation made by parties opposing the February 1 Budget plan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the move asking why Opposition parties are afraid of it when they have claimed that demonetization is an unpopular decision.

Parties including Congress, Left, SP and BSP have written to the Election Commission and the President opposing the advancing of the budget presentation to February 1 before the polls.

The parties say that this would give an unfair advantage to BJP and its allies as the Centre could announce sops to influence voters.

“It is a collective and serious concern of the Opposition parties that advancing the presentation of budget to February 1 will provide an opportunity to the government to make populist announcements to influence voters. This will not only give unfair advantage to the ruling party but will also undermine the process of free and fair elections. It is therefore demanded that in view of the forthcoming elections and the precedent of 2012, the advancement of the presentation of the budget should not be allowed,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi.

The session is being advanced as the government wants early allocation of funds for various schemes– from April 1, the beginning of the financial year.