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Budget: Congress on collision course with opposition, others

Friday, February 26, 2010 09:29:34 PM, IANS

Budget 2010: Tax-payers relieved but petrol, diesel became dearer: General Budget 2010 -11 on Friday provided considerable ....Read Full

Entire Opposition stages walk out against UPA’s inflationary Budget

50 percent increase in funding for minority welfare

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s move to hike central duty on petrol and diesel has set the Congress-led government on a collision course with the opposition and other parties.

The announcement, coming a day after the two houses of parliament discussed price rise has provided a rallying point to the opposition.


Some of parties which extended outside support to the United Progressive Alliance government — like the Samajwadi Party (SP), Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — have joined hands with the opposition on the issue of price rise.


“We oppose the government on the issue of price rise. The budget has nothing for the common man,” Vijay Bahadur Singh, BSP MP from Hamirpur, told IANS.


The BSP joined other opposition parties during Friday’s walk-out from the Lok Sabha while Mukherjee was still making his budget speech, the first incident during budget presentation.


The opposition parties earlier cautioned the government against hiking price of petrol and diesel prices.


SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said the decision to hike central tax on petrol and diesel had come within hours of discussion in parliament on price rise.


The BSP, SP and RJD, which have their differences with the Congress, together have 47 MPs in the 545-member Lok Sabha and can create trouble for the government if they side with the opposition during vote on a cut motion.


However, the government did not betray signs of any nervousness.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the government was “confident” of getting its financial agenda through.


On the possibility of withdrawing tax hike on petroleum products, Bansal said the excise duty had earlier been reduced to offset increase in international prices of crude oil and Mukherjee’s announcement was actually a “rollback”.


Though the government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament has no statutory authority to defeat a finance bill.


The Left parties, which have to face a resurgent Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance in the next year’s West Bengal assembly polls, indicated that larger opposition unity on price rise will continue.


“The opposition is united. We will carry the movement forward,” Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Basudeb Acharia said.


The Congress said the budget had spelt out the government’s thrust on improving the lot of poorer sections while also taking care of growth imperatives.


Party leader Salman Khursheed said much thought had gone into the process of budget formation and the government will fulfil all its commitments.






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