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    EditorialA date with the Budget

    A date with the Budget


    A date with the

    With the announcement of Election schedule by the Election Commission in five states that provides for the first round of elections to be held on February 04, some leaders of the major Opposition parties have met the commission to claim that the government would get an unfair advantage insofar as it would announce some sops in the budget that could influence the electorate. They contended that while the model code of conduct was in force, the budget proposals should not be announced.

    Hurtling from one controversy to another and with a general climate of contentiousness permeating the political atmosphere, the Narendra Modi government and the principal Opposition parties are locked in verbal combat again. This time it is on the Minister's plan to advance the date for the Union Budget to 1 February.

    The government, on the other hand, has stuck to its stand and justified it on grounds that it would be a healthy practice if all measures in the budget were to be implemented from 1 April when the financial year starts. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has pointed out that the budget is for the whole country and the states not going to polls now cannot be denied the budget for the sake of five poll-bound states. While the EC is seized of the matter and will give its ruling soon, the government's stand is weighty and difficult to brush aside.

    The paranoia that the Opposition's stand reflects does little credit to its self-confidence. What is the guarantee that the upcoming budget would be well received by the people? It could well boomerang on the BJP with expectations running high that the government would seek to neutralise the anger among a section of the electorate in the wake of demonetisation

    That the budget date would be advanced this time was known for weeks while the EC's schedule came much later. What is for the EC to decide is whether elections can hold up a fiscal policy announcement. The answer seems an emphatic ‘no'. Be that as it may, there is no denying that the upcoming polls would be crucial for the BJP as well as the Opposition. It would be in a sense a vote for or against demonetisation, among other things, and would be either a catalyst for Opposition unity or a precursor to BJP's unchallenged status.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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