This is 'Sell India' Budget, says Opposition

This is Sell India Budget, says Opposition

New Delhi: Terming the Union Budget as "Sell India" and directionless", the Opposition party leaders on Monday asserted that it was a "let down like never before" and described the imposition of cess on petrol and diesel as a "vengeful act" against the thousands of farmers who took out tractor rallies.

The Congress has also said it was a case of "wrong diagnosis and prescription" and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman could have been "brave" by extending help to the poor, but chose to be "timid".

Attacking the Centre, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that the Narendra Modi government plans to handover India's assets to crony capitalists while his party colleague P Chidambaram said she "deceived" those who were listening to her speech by imposing cesses on a large number of products, including petroleum and diesel — Rs 2.50 on petrol per litre and Rs 4 on diesel per litre.

"Forget putting cash in the hands of people, Modi govt plans to handover India's assets to his crony capitalist friends," Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

"It was a vengeful act against the thousands of farmers who took out the longest tractor rally in history. It was also a cruel blow to federalism because the states do not get a share of the revenue from cesses," the former Finance minister said while addressing a press conference.

"She deceived the people of India, especially the poor, the working class, the migrants, the farmers, the industrial units that had been closed down permanently, and those who had lost their jobs, both regular and informal, and are still looking for jobs," he alleged.

Chidambaram further added that Sitharaman did not mention defence at all, "as if the Chinese had vacated occupied Indian territory". "She did not mention that the defence expenditure in 2021-22 will not see any significant rise."

"The FM could have been brave but chose to be timid. The nation needed a bold Budget and more direct transfers to the weaker sections to revive demand, restart job creation," said Anand Sharma, senior Congress leader and Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Taking a dig at the Centre, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said: "This BJP government reminds me of the garage mechanic who told his client, 'I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder'."

While Shiv Sena contended that Maharashtra was ignored in the Budget, its ally — the NCP — termed it as "disappointing" and a move towards "privatisation".

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said: "Would the Budget be able to turn the "slow" and "worsening economy" around and manage to overcome national problems such as "extreme poverty, unemployment, inflation" and so on?"

In a series of tweets, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: "Budget projecting self-reliance, promote self-servience to corporate profits through a loot of national assets and large scale privatisation. FDI limits in LIC and financial sector hiked for profit maximisation."

TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien stated that India's first paperless Budget was also "a 100 per cent visionless budget" with the theme being to "sell India".

On the announcement of projects for the development of roadways in West Bengal, he said "what Bengal did yesterday" was only being talked about by the Centre today.

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