The Election Commission tonight gave its nod to the Centre to present the Union Budget on February 1 ahead of the Assembly polls, but said no schemes related to these poll-bound states can be announced and the Finance Minister’s speech should not refer to the government’s achievements in these states.
It also reminded the government of a 2009 advisory India Budget 2017 which said vote-on-account instead of a full fledged budget is presented ahead of elections as per convention.
“The Commission hereby directs that in the interest of free and fair elections and in order to maintain level playing field… No state-specific schemes shall be announced which may have the effect of influencing the electors of the five poll going states in favour of the ruling parties,” the EC told Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha.
It also said in the Finance Minister’s speech, the government’s achievements in respect of the five states “will not be highlighted in any manner.”
Polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa will be held between February 4 and March 8.