New Delhi: Opposition parties on Friday slammed the Budget’s populist push, claiming that the last Budget of the Modi government was just an attempt to garner votes in the coming general elections that failed to address the burning issue of jobs. The parties also said that the minimum income guarantee of Rs 6,000 for farmers was an insult to them, with the Congress branding the Budget as an “account for votes” instead of Vote on Account. Promising a “Surgical Strike” on the Prime Minister before the polls, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the coming elections would be fought on issues like Rafale, jobs and demonetisation.
“Dear NoMo, 5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers. Giving them Rs 17 a day is an insult to everything they stand and work for,” Mr Gandhi tweeted, using the hashtag #AakhriJum laBudget.
Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram slammed the government for “trampling” on time-honoured conventions by presenting a “full-fledged Budget” and not an interim one, and accused it of violating the Constitution.
“My one line comment on the Budget is that it was not a Vote on Account but an account for votes. It was a full-fledged budget accompanied by an election campaign speech,” he told reporters.
Questioning the Budget’s promise to farmers, Mr Chidambaram asked, “What about the non-farmer poor? What about urban poor?”
He also asked how the direct transfer scheme can be rolled out retrospectively. “Congress will have a much better designed tax structure when we are voted to power. We will want a completely redesigned direct taxes code,” he said.
Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said the Modi government has “no moral authority” to place the interim Budget as a normal Budget for five years. “This government has no moral authority or responsibility to place the Budget for five years when they’ll not be in power,” she said.
Ms Banerjee said the BJP government will get “expired”.
“After expiry, if you give medicine, is there any value? What will be the value? This is absolutely valueless,” she said.
Aam Aadmi Party president and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Modi government’s last Budget has “completely disappointed” the people of Delhi. He termed the interim Budget as the “final jumla” of the BJP government.
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy wondered if the Budget was prepared by the finance ministry or the RSS. “In this Budget, Narendra Modi has given cotton candy to farmers. When I announced loan waiver scheme, PM mocked it as lollipop,” Mr Kumaraswamy said.
Questioning the government’s allocation for the defence sector, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “Government’s Budget allocation for defence has fallen to an all-time low”.