An ‘Insult’ to Farmers: Rahul Gandhi on Budget 2019 Announcements
Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
Video Producer: Hera Khan
Opposition leaders attacked the government for presenting an “election Budget” on Friday, 1 February, even as BJP leaders congratulated interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal after the announcements made earlier in the day.
Opposition Calls It a ‘Jumla’ Budget
Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Narendra Modi-led government, calling the interim Budget an “insult” to farmers. He wrote on Twitter, “5 years of your incompetence and arrogance has destroyed the lives of our farmers.”
Senior Congress politician Mallikarjun Kharge addressed the media on Friday and called the announcements ‘jumlas’.
“These are promises due to the polls, these are jumlas,” Kharge said, adding that: “There is nothing for the SC/ST and the promises to the farmers is to mislead them. They haven't told us their achievement. This is nothing more than an election manifesto.”
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also hit out at the government, saying that friends of the BJP had made the budget. “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,” he said, reported ANI.
The CM of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee also lashed out at the government, calling it ‘valueless’.
“This government has no moral authority or responsibility to place the budget for five years when they'll not be in power. The government will go for expiry. After expiry, if you give medicine, is there any value? What will be the value? This is absolutely valueless,” she said, according to ANI.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram chimed in and called the Budget an ‘Account for Votes.’
The Congress leader also alleged that the Budget presented on Friday was a “full fledged Budget” and not an interim Budget, which is the norm ahead of Lok Sabha elections, reported ANI.
On the increase in defence budget, Chidamabaram said that it was normal for the expenditure to go up every year. It should also be noted that that two words were not mentioned in the Budget speech — jobs and education, he said.
Speaking to NDTV, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called it an “election budget.”
However, speaking about the tax rebate for the middle class and monetary concessions to farmers, Singh told NDTV, "In these circumstances of the case, concessions to farmers and concessions to middle class will obviously have implications in the election."
According to former AAP leader Yogendra Yadav , the Budget "rubs salt in the wounds of farmers.”
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor called the whole exercise a ‘damp squib’, reported ANI. “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 6,000 in income support for farmers boils down to Rs 500 per month. Is that supposed to enable them to live with the honour and dignity?”
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani also pointed out that there were no announcements on jobs in the Budget speech.
BJP Leaders Congratulate PM Modi, Piyush Goyal
In a series of tweets, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said the Budget marked a high point in policy directions made by the Modi government. He wrote:
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “It’s a historic budget, and all the sections of the society will benefit from it.”
BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted in praise of the Budget, saying that it would fulfil the government’s mission of 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas'. Former Defence Minister and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, too, called it a “balanced” Budget.
In multiple tweets, BJP President Amit Shah praised separate aspects of the Budget.
“Today's Budget has once again proved that the Modi government is dedicated to fulfilling dreams and aspirations of the poor, the farmers and the youth of the country,” he wrote on Twitter.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Minister Smriti Irani also congratulated the prime minister and Goyal for the Budget.
Critics Wary of Budget Promises
Business journalist Mihir Sharma called the budgetary announcements “headline management.”
Some journalists also raised the question of a “full-blown” Budget being presented instead of an interim one.