Interim Budget “not a Vote on Account, but an Account for Votes,” says P. Chidambaram

February 01, 2019 01:30 pm | Updated 01:48 pm IST

P. Chidambaram. File

P. Chidambaram. File

The Congress party is set to officially offer its detailed response at a press conference by former Finance Minister P. Chidamabaram later in the day, but he took to Twitter to give out his initial reaction while Finance Minister Piyush Goyal was still presenting the interim Budget for 2019-2020.

“It was not a Vote on Account. It was an Account for Votes,” tweeted Mr. Chidamabaram as soon after the Budget speech was over.

“Thank you Interim FM for copying the Congress’ declaration that the poor have the first right to the resources of the country,” he added in response to the government’s announcement assuring minimum income support for farmers.

“As I had warned, Government misses Fiscal Deficit target for 2018-19. Another red flag rises: CAD is 2.5 percent,” he had earlier tweeted barely 10 minutes after Mr. Goyal started his budget speech.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said the farmers and middle classes have been cheated.

“They promised ₹15,00,000 but giving land owning farmers only ₹500 a month. For the crime of implementing demonetisation, inflicting unprecedented agricultural distress & imposing a flawed GST, this 500 rupees compensation is peanuts,” tweeted Mr. Patel.

He also accused the government of not offering anything to the middle class.

“This Government has cheated the middle class. This budget has nothing for them.On one hand they say those earning below ₹8 lakhs are economically backward but did not give them any kind of tax relief?”asked Mr. Patel.

Congress leader Shashi Thaoor called the interim Budget a damp squib. “It was rather disappointing. Empty promises not supported by facts. We applaud the income tax rebate for middle class but the PM Kisan Yojana is nothing but fantasy. ₹500 per month will not make any difference in anyone's life,” he said.

(With inputs from Sobhana Nair)

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