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Supreme Court Refuses Urgent Hearing On Plea To Put Off Union Budget

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused an urgent hearing on a plea seeking postponement of presentation of Union Budget due to assembly elections in five states.

“There is no urgency in it. We will lay down the law when this petition comes up,” a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said.

Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the PIL on the issue, mentioned it and sought an urgent hearing.

The PIL has also sought a direction to strip BJP of its lotus election symbol for alleged violation of the model code of conduct which came into effect after declaration of assembly polls in five states.

Opposition parties claim that the budget, set to be announced just three days before five states including Uttar Pradesh start voting, would give the government an unfair advantage ahead of the state elections.

Leaders of the Congress, Trinamool, Samajwadi party, Mayawati’s BSP, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and Lalu Yadav’s RJD met the Election Commission together to argue the case for deferring the budget recntly.

“There can be no concession to any political party, this is against the constitution and the ideal of democracy. We said that to ensure fair elections, the budget must be deferred to after the election results on March 11,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting.

“The simple solution is to present the budget after March 8 and get it passed before March 31. We are optimistic,” said Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien, who had tweeted about the meeting this morning, saying the budget date is “too close to the polls”.

Elections will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur from February 4 to March 8. Opposition parties say the government can sway voters with populist announcements if the budget is presented as scheduled on February 1.

PTI