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EC to take call on parties’ plea to not allow Budget during polls

Parliament winter session

    
New Delhi : The Election Commission is examining the representation of various political parties for not allowing the presentation of the Union Budget during the poll process of five states and will take a call on it soon.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said various political parties have represented to the Election Commission regarding the issue of presentation of Union Budget which is likely to be presented on February 1 by the central government as it falls during the election campaign to five states.

“The Commission has received one representation sent by some political parties. This representation is with regards to presentation of the budget. The Commission is examining this representation and in due course of time will take a call on this,” he told reporters when asked about the issue.

Various political parties, including Congress, Left, Samajwadi Party and some others, have represented to the EC for not allowing the central government to present the budget during poll process as the sops that could be announced in it may influence voters in upcoming Assembly polls.

Replying to a query on EC’s preparations on the Supreme Court judgement disallowing seeking of votes on religious grounds, the CEC said separate instructions are being prepared to help implement the apex court order during the Assembly polls to states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur which start on February 4.

“The law department of the election commission is preparing instructions based on the Supreme Court order. The order will further strengthen the hands of the commission and it wants all political parties to follow the order of the SC on their own as well,” he said.

In a landmark verdict seeking to separate religion, caste and other issues from politics, the Supreme Court, by a majority verdict, had held as “corrupt” the practice of candidates appealing for votes on the basis of these identities included not only him but his agents and voters.

The court held that the provisions of the R P Act, which say that seeking vote by a candidate in the name of “his” religion, caste, race, religion and language in the election law, included candidates, his agents and voters also.

“An appeal in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language is impermissible under the R P Act, 1951 and would constitute a corrupt practice sufficient to annul the election in which such an appeal was made regardless whether the appeal was in the name of the candidate’s religion or the religion of the election agent or that of the opponent or that of the voter’s,” the CJI, who concurred with majority verdict written by Justice M B Lokur, said.

Zaidi also said the use of black money in these elections is expected to reduce post demonetisation, but use of other “illegal inducements” in different forms may see an increase.

“In this upcoming election, the EC machinery will see what measures need to be taken to curb the use of black money post demonetisation. But, as per information received the availability of black money for use in the forthcoming election is expected to be less. As the poll process picks up, we will monitor it,” he said.

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