Mumbai, February 2
The Shiv Sena on Tuesday claimed Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced big packages in the budget for some poll-bound states, and asked how right is it to use the budget as a “tool” to win elections.
Accusing the Centre of setting a new trend of playing “dirty politics” for votes through the budget, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said the allocation of more funds to poll-bound states is a kind of “bribery”.
It also accused the Centre of ignoring Maharashtra which, it said, contributes highest revenue to the Union government’s coffers.
Finance Minister Sitharaman presented the 2021-22 Union Budget on Monday.
“…what is unfortunate is that the (central) government has set a new trend of playing dirty politics of votes through budget,” the editorial said.
The Assembly polls are due in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Hence, the finance minister has allocated big packages and projects to these states, it said.
The Marathi daily said new projects must be undertaken as they are required for development.
“But it is a kind of bribery to allocate more funds only to the poll-bound states, eyeing elections there. How right is it to use the budget as a tool to woo the people to win elections?” it asked.
The editorial said except for the provisions made for Nashik and Nagpur Metro projects, Mumbai and Maharashtra had got “nothing” in the budget.
The Centre has made a provision of Rs 2,092 crore in its budget for Nashik Metro, while the Nagpur Metro phase-2 also got Rs 5,976 crore.
“Why this discrimination?” the editorial asked, and said the Centre’s finance department should think about the entire country.
Sitharaman is the finance minister of the entire country and not of some select states, it added.
The Shiv Sena also claimed that the budget shows dreams and brings politics in economics.
“The budget is unjust to states which are not poll-bound. Roads, railways, aeroplanes, petroleum companies and a lot have been sold,” it claimed.
“The government which sold this and that, has now decided to sell the insurance sector as well,” it alleged.
It noted that Sitharaman did mention in her budget speech the closing down of “thousands” of businesses, unemployment caused during the COVID-19 period and how jobs will be restored.
The editorial, however, welcomed the Rs 35,000 crore budgetary provision for COVID-19 vaccination. PTI