Joining opposition parties in protesting the government’s plan to present the Union Budget on February 1, Shiv Sena on Wednesday demanded that the Narendra Modi government postpone the upcoming budget till the Assembly elections to the five states are completed.
“Budget is presented in March every year but why this is being done in February this year. The budget should not be presented before the elections are finished. This is a violation of election laws,” Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said, addressing a meeting of district leaders of his party, which is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the Centre and in Maharashtra.
"16 crore people will vote in this election. We feel that ruling BJP may try to manipulate and mislead people in the union budget. What was the need to announce the budget in February 1, instead of March, as was the norm since Independence," he said.
The Shiv Sena chief said that a delegation of party MPs will meet the President of India for this soon and will seek his intervention in the matter.
Thackeray questioned why the Union Budget should be announced when the dates for the elections to five state assemblies - Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh - were announced by the Election Commission of India earlier on Wednesday.
Besides, he pointed out there are other local elections in Maharashtra to many panchayats, zilla parishads, municipal councils and corporations for which the code of conduct is already enforced.
Under such circumstances, it would be wrong to announce the Union Budget for next year 2017-2018, said Thackeray.
Lashing out at the BJP, he said demonetisation has made life miserable for the people but Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps mouthing existing schemes, launched by the previous government, to mislead the masses.
He said this is the first time since Independence that the country is experiencing so much insecurity and fear.
"Only old announcements are being repeated. What 'Achhe Din' are they talking of, where are they - we are just lucky to be alive, that is 'Achhe Din' for the masses," Thackeray fumed, as the gathering broke out in applause.
"The 'Mallyas and Lallyas' (Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi) fled the country. Were you sleeping then? On the contrary, claiming to bring out black money, the government eyed the domestic savings of our mothers and sisters and declared it as 'black money'. Its only a claim that people are supporting demonetisation," he said.
Accusing the government of giving false hopes to the people, he said the poor people are being made to fill up forms for the Prime Minister Awaas Yojana - "but nobody knows where the homes for the poor will come up or how the scheme will be implemented". "The poor are being taken for a ride," he said.
Dwelling on the plight of the farmers, Thackeray said the restrictions on rural cooperative banks has resulted in huge problems for farmers and commoners in the rural areas.
He reiterated the Sena's demand to write off all farm loans, saying only then would the farmers would shower their love on the BJP, while asking the party to keep in mind it would not continue to remain in power forever.
Thackeray also criticised the government's plans to launch bullet train services between Mumbai-Ahmedabad without even showing its master plan and the long-pending assurance of constructing Ram Temple in Ayodhya, while noting the Sena has not discarded its Hindutva agenda.
(With IANS inputs)