Opposition party leaders headed by the Congress leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad today met the three election commissioners and demanded that the Union Budget be postponed from February 1 to beyond March 8, that is, after assembly polls to 5 states.
Their reasoning was that the budget presentation on Feb 1 comes too close to the election dates and this may influence voters in UP, Punjab and other states.
But the opposition has a game plan. If the budget is presented on March 8 after the assembly elections, the opposition will use the results to give the Modi government a nightmare on the floor of the Parliament.
If the BJP manages to win the UP elections, the collective opposition will somehow try to stall Parliament, delaying the budget presentation and the GST. This will have serious financial implications and will give the Finance Ministry a fiscal policy nightmare.
If the BJP loses in UP, the opposition parties will demand the resignation of Prime Minister Modi, blaming him for the demonetization mess.
Either way, the opposition is a win-win situation.
Apart from all this, a delayed budget presentation would have serious implications for the financial year that kicks in on April 1. Presentation of the Union Budget after March 8 will make it tough for the government to the financial bill passed and implemented before April 1.