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Stop budget presentation ahead of polls: Shiv Sena urges President

Mumbai: Joining the opposition chorus, BJP’s ally Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday appealed to President Pranab Mukherjee to not allow presentation of the Union Budget days ahead of elections to five states, a move that will not go down well with the Centre or Maharashtra government.

The Sena president asked his party MPs to meet the President and request him to postpone the Budget beyond polls. Congress, Left, Samajwadi Party and some others have already represented to the Election Commission not to allow the Centre to present the Budget when the poll process would be on. “By making attractive announcements in the Budget, government can grab votes indirectly,” Thackeray, whose party shares power with BJP both at the Centre and in Maharashtra, told a state-level gathering of Shiv Sena workers here.

In remarks that would rub BJP the wrong way, Uddhav also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should not address any campaign rallies in the poll-bound states as he is the “PM of the country”. “Also, the Prime Minister should not address campaign rallies (in the poll-bound states). PM is of the country and not of any party,” Thackeray said.

On prospects of alliance with BJP for Mumbai civic polls, he said Sena will not beg for seats. “It (alliance) will be on our terms and conditions. Shiv Sainiks’ opinion will be considered while taking the decision,” Uddhav said.

He also slammed the NDA government over Ram temple issue and income tax raids on priests at temple town of Trimbakeshwar near Nashik. He dared the IT department to conduct raids on holy places of other religions.

Though Shiv Sena is the oldest ally of BJP, their alliance hit a rocky patch when the latter walked out of it just ahead of the last Maharashtra assembly elections. Though they later came together to form the government, bitterness endures.

PTI