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Opposition Parties Dismiss Budget as Anti-Poor, Corporate-Friendly

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

“Farmers in the country have been agitating on the streets for their rights for more than two months now. There is nothing in this Budget for the farmers, only false promises and once again the years-old promise of doubling their incomes”

NEW DELHI – The Union Budget 2021 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament on Monday was appreciated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

However, Opposition parties reacted to the budget on a different note with their post-mortem of the budget marring the rosy picture presented by BJP and its allies.

The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies—the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress, in Maharashtra slammed the Budget as a ‘national betrayal’ and ‘letter of intent to sell off government assets’ and spoke of ‘injustice.’

While Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the budget would achieve the goals of an ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) India, the Maharashtra State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said the Budget was a ‘letter of intent’ to profit by selling off top government companies in the guise of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and doling out largesse to states going to elections this year.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has termed the Union Budget as “disappointing” by saying, “The people of the country had high hopes from this General Budget which came today during the critical coronavirus pandemic crisis, but this Budget has led to a lot of disappointment among the people.”

“Farmers in the country have been agitating on the streets for their rights for more than two months now. There is nothing in this Budget for the farmers, only false promises and once again the years-old promise of doubling their incomes,” said Nath.

Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, vehemently criticised the Budget calling it “anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-country budget.”

“The budget is not in favour of the farmers and poor people of the country. What kind of budget is this? It’s a fake budget. Bhekhdhari sarkar ke fakedari budget (It is a fake budget of the deceptive government,” Banerjee said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the budget had completely catered to the corporates and there was nothing for the common man in it. He said the budget was a clear reflection of the NDA’s policies of promoting neo-liberal policies, adding that this would help only the corporates and multinational firms.

Vijayan also lashed out at the Budget proposal to continue with the three farm laws, and added this had clearly proved that the meetings conducted by the government with the farmers were “hoodwinking”.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed the budget as ‘favourable for selected companies’. “This budget is to provide benefits to some selected big companies. It will trigger a spike in inflation and will be a burden for common people,” Kejriwal tweeted.

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia has also expressed his displeasure over the Budget by stating that due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has exposed the poor public health care system of the country, it was expected the government would substantially increase the health care allocation in this year’s Budget. He claimed that the Centre has reduced the health care budget instead.

While Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, welcomed the Budget, describing it as “balanced”, the traders in Bihar are disappointed with the budget, according to an IANS report.

Bihar’s opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) also described the Budget as “visionless” and said it did not meet the expectations of the people of the country.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal in Punjab said the Budget was anti-farmer, anti-poor and anti-common man and that the sole focus of the BJP-led Central government was on selling national assets to its corporate friends.

He said it had also punished Punjabis for supporting the peaceful agitation against the three agricultural laws with nothing being earmarked for the state.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that even the vital sector of defence had not been adequately addressed despite the growing border threat from China and Pakistan.

Trashing the Centre’s claim that the health sector allotment had been increased by 35 per cent, he said in a statement that the health allocation was actually down amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The “fact was that numbers had been effectively fudged to project a hike by including Rs 35,000 crore Covid vaccine allotment and the amount set aside for sanitation and cleanliness under the health head”, he said.

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