After supreme court passed the judgement that there will be no delay in presenting union budget as demanded by the opposition parties, the Election Commission on Monday said that no particular schemes can be proclaimed in the union budget for the five states where assembly elections are due this year.
The Commission said, “in the interest of free and fair elections” and to maintain “level playing field during elections”, no state specific schemes should be announced in the national budget that is likely to influence the voters in the five poll-bound states “in favor of the ruling party”.
The Commission also mentioned that in the Budget speech, “the government’s achievements regarding the five states will also not be highlighted in any manner”.
The dictation of the top election body’s came following opposition parties complained to poll panel. They also wanted the budget to be postponed.
“We hope and we clearly say that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission and they must abide by their constitutional duty to ensure that polls are free and fair, that no kind of inducements which will impress upon the voter in the election in the five states would happen,” said Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar as per the reports.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court ruled that the budget will be held on February 1 as scheduled. The order was deliver in response to a petition that sought the budget be postponed considering the assembly elections in five states, so that it doesn’t influence the voters.
However, the court said the union budget has “nothing to do with states”. “Throughout the year, there may be elections in different states, so should the centre not present the budget?” asked the judges.
Notably, the government had announced last year that it would present the budget earlier than usual so it does not clash with the election schedule.
The elections in fiver states including Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur will start on February 4. The results for all states will be announced on March 11.