NEW DELHI: No specific schemes can be announced in the Union Budget for the five states where Assembly elections are due soon, the Election Commission said on Monday night while also asking the
government not to highlight any achievements specific to these states in the Budget speech.
While giving its approval to the Centre to present the Budget on February 1 ahead of the Assembly polls, the Election Commission said the Finance Minister's speech should not refer to the government's
achievements in these states.
It also reminded the government of a 2009 advisory which said vote-on-account instead of a full-fledged budget is presented ahead of elections as per convention.
"The Commission hereby directs that in the interest of free and fair elections and in order to maintain a level playing field... no state-specific schemes shall be announced which may have the effect of influencing the electors of the five poll going states in favour of the ruling parties," the EC told Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha. Polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa will be held between February 4 and March 8.