NEW DELHI: Now in Opposition, the Congress reaction to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget was uncannily similar to BJP reaction to his predecessor P Chidambaram’s budget: “disappointing jugglery of figures, without a roadmap.”
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose reaction was promptly put on Twitter by Congress said: “Just like the Railway Budget, there are no specifics in this budget, there are no roadmaps.” Congress chief Sonia Gandhi also said there is nothing new in the budget. “They have merely continued our schemes,” she said, even as son Rahul Gandhi echoed her saying there is nothing in the budget that could set the pulse racing.
Meanwhile, former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and former power minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, called the budget “lackluster and an anti-climax.”
A more detailed response, however, came from Chidambaram later in the evening. The former FM saw UPA imprint overall in Jaitley’s budget and remarked that it was not possible for the BJP to present a “Congress-mukt Budget”.
“Welcome to the real world,” Chidambaram said in his typical dripping in sarcasm style, “BJP sought a mandate for Congress-mukt Bharat. My friend, Arun Jaitley, would have realised that it is not possible to have even a Congress-mukt budget.” Jaitley, he said (and there seemed to be hint of relief), has acknowledged the basic validity of the numbers presented by him in the interim budget in February.
The “imprint of the UPA Government’s policies” on fiscal consolidation, GST, FDI cap in insurance and social sector schemes, Chidambaram said, can be found throughout the Budget speech of Jaitley and in the Budget documents.
However, he added “what was also missing was humour. And inspirational quotes from Victor Hugo or Tiruvalluvar”.
Mamata Calls it Mere Mockery
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has described the budget as a ‘political vendetta’ which deprived many states and would adversely affect the country. She said, “In both the budgets, it is noticeable that Bengal and so many other states are getting deprived. It is visionless, missionless and actionless from the angle of the common people,” she said.