New Delhi: Soon after the interim budget was presented in the Parliament on Friday by the Railways Minister and the additional in-charge of Finance Ministry, Piyush Goyal, standing in for Arun Jaitley who was undergoing medical treatment in the US – reactions from the Congress have started coming in swiftly.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge termed the Union Budget as BJP's "election manifesto" and accused the ruling dispensation of bribing voters ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“I would term today's budget as BJP's election manifesto. This is all being done for elections. I directly charge them of paying bribe to voters,” said Mallikarjun Kharge.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Kharge said the promises made by the BJP in this budget are mere of poll sops and "jumlas", which will not be fulfilled as the BJP has a mandate to rule only till May this year.
General elections are slated to be held in April-May. Kharge said the BJP has not told the people on what they have achieved during their rule and how many promises it has fulfilled in its five years of government. It also did not talk about its "jumla" of providing Rs 15 lakh into the bank accounts of people, he said, adding that it also did not fulfil the promise of providing 10 crore jobs in five years. "These are only election sops and 'jumlas', as they had been speaking about 'jumlas' in the past. There is politics in everything they do and there is nothing for the poor in this budget...This budget is only an election manifesto that the BJP read in Parliament and it is only for getting votes," Kharge said, adding people understand that they will not be befooled any more.
The senior Congress leader said no progress has taken place in their government and what they are going to do in future are 'mere jumlas (gimmicks)', from which people will not benefit. "The BJP are thinking that they will get votes, but people understand that as in the past they had deceived and befooled the people, youth and farmers and they are doing so again," he said.
Kharge also alleged that the budget for Dalits is also very less, as there is very less provision for them and alleged that the BJP is trying to befool the farmers.
He alleged that the government did not provide 10 crore jobs and the money kept for 1.2 crore houses is very less. Farmers with less than 2.5 hectares land, he said, will get only Rs 6,000 per year, which is Rs 500 per month. "They are distributing money in elections to please farmers, but the reality is that in the first three months they would give only Rs 2,000 in first instalment," he said.
On the announcement of Income Tax exemption up to Rs 5 lakh to tax-payers, he alleged the BJP parliamentarians are creating a 'tamasha' in Parliament. "You have a mandate up to May and instead they have presented a full year's budget and are trying to befool the people of the country, keeping elections in mind. Who will fulfil these promises made? If they do not come to power, who will fulfil these promises? The next government will come and only it can deliver. These are only election sops and 'jumlas', as they had been speaking about 'jumlas' in the past," he said.
Shashi Tharoor also hit out at the BJP soon after the presentation of the interim budget ended.
S Tharoor, Congress: The whole exercise has turned out to be a damp squib. We've seen one good thing that is tax exemption for the middle class. Rs 6000 in income support for farmers boils down to Rs 500 per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honour&dignity? pic.twitter.com/kZDRhkKSWi— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2019
Former finance minister P Chidambaram also criticised the interim Budget presented by finance minister Piyush Goyal, saying it was just rip off of the Congress party’s ideas for the poor.
“Thank you Interim FM for copying the Congress’ declaration that the poor have the first right to the resources of the country,” the senior Congress leader tweeted.
“It was not a Vote on Account. It was an Account for Votes,” he also said.
P Chidambaram, Congress on #Budget2019: The Interim Finance Minister tested our patience by the longest interim budget speech in the recent memory. It was not an interim budget, it was a full fledged budget accompanied by an election campaign speech. https://t.co/AlY8uxmQpD— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2019
"It's an election budget," Manmohan Singh also told NDTV.
WB CM Mamata Banerjee: This govt has no moral authority or responsibility to place the budget for 5 years when they'll not be in power; the govt will go for expiry. After expiry, if you give medicine, is there any value? What will be the value? This is absolutely valueless. pic.twitter.com/rK4CBge5Sw— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2019
“Another jumla by jumla sarkar. Why didn’t they do anything in the past four years? This is an election-centric budget. People have understood this government. They will teach this government a lesson in upcoming elections,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said.
-There were lies once again in the Union Budget 2019. This government is once again trying to mislead the people by forgetting its promises made in the past with false promises to capture power,” Samajwadi Party leader Tej Pratap Singh Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
Karnataka CM: I want to ask if this budget was prepared by officials of Finance dept or RSS? In this budget, Narendra Modi has given cotton candy for farmers. When I announced loan waiver scheme, PM mocked it as lollipop. Friends of BJP have prepared this budget. #Budget2019 pic.twitter.com/brlzIzHqaU— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2019
BSP president Mayawati called the Budget presented Friday by the BJP-led government `jumlebazi', or empty rhetoric, that did not address the ground realties.
She claimed that economic disparities had grown during the last five years with only a handful of capitalists benefiting, instead of farmers and the poor. "This is wrong and against the interest of the country," she said in a statement.
"The last Budget of the BJP government before the elections is far from the ground reality and the bitter truth, and is mostly jumlebazi,' the Bahujan Samaj Party chief said.
"Jumlebazi cannot change the destiny of the country and end longstanding problems like poverty, unemployment and inflation,” she said.
“It needs a firm resolve to solve them, which has been absent in the governments at the helm so far at the Centre," she said. She claimed the Budget was “unsettling” for the common people, and compared it to "unfulfilled electoral promises” and decisions like demonetisation and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Mayawati claimed the benefit of Central schemes meant for labourers, farmers and the poor had not reached the needy, but the “capitalists” had gained.
Referring to the coming Lok Sabha elections, the BSP president urged people to evaluate the “wrong policies and the arrogance” of the BJP government.
She asked them not fall prey to its efforts to “divert attention from its failures by inciting religious sentiments”....