Assembly polls: After Opposition, BJP ally Shiv Sena asks Centre to postpone Budget

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Mumbai, Jan 5: On Wednesday, we saw how almost all the opposition parties in unison asked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre to postpone the presentation of the Union Budget on February 1.

Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra, has now supported the demand of the Opposition to postpone the Budget as 'elections are close'.

Uddhav Thackeray

"The Budget should be postponed as elections are close; allegation of appeasing public can be levied on the ruling party in this case," Sanjay Raut, senior Shiv Sena leader, told ANI on Thursday.

The call to defer the Budget came after the Election Commission on Wednesday announced the dates for the upcoming assembly polls in five states.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray also urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to allow presentation of the Budget before the five states vote.

In fact, the Budget will be tabled at the Parliament just three days before Punjab and Goa go to assembly polls and 10 days before the first phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The Opposition says that the move to advance the Budget, which is generally presented in April, is an indirect ploy to hold an upper hand in the upcoming assembly elections by the ruling BJP-led NDA government.

The Opposition adds the Centre's decision to go ahead with the Budget is a violation of the poll code. However, experts say that the government's plan is in no way violation of the model code of conduct, which came into place on Wednesday.

Leaders of several opposition parties including the Trinamool Congress, the Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Janata Dal-United and the Rashtriya Lok Dal, to name a few, on Thursday went to meet the officials of the EC to discuss the budget date being too close to polls.

The elections for the five states - Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand - will begin on February 4. Counting of the votes will take place on March 11.

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