Claiming that the ruling party at the Centre was planning early elections to the Lok Sabha in October or November this year, Bharatiya Janata Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was pinning its hopes of a return to power on a populist budget.

Talking to reporters here, Mr. Naidu wondered how such a budget was possible given the rising inflation and negative growth rate.

Wrong policies had led to widespread economic slowdown and unemployment.

Corruption, increase in price of essential commodities and distress in agriculture sector had forced thousands of farmers to commit suicide.

“People are fed up with the UPA…the BJP is the only alternative and the so-called Third Front is only a mirage.”

On the execution of Afzal Guru, he said that strong public opinion had compelled the government to finally act.

“Afzal Guru indulged in a heinous crime on December 13, 2001 and on December 18, 2002, he was sentenced to death…the government needs to explain the reasons for the abnormal delay in implementing the highest court’s order.” Mr. Naidu welcomed Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s decision to provide Rs. 15,000 per acre as compensation to farmers who suffered losses due to drought.

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