Advani sees communal overtones in budget


New Delhi : Leader of Opposition and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani has criticised the union budget presented Friday for its “heavy communal overtones”.

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“It is a throw-back to the Liaqat Ali days, the consequences of which are well-known,” he said in a statement, referring to the budget provisions for the minorities.

Advani was referring to the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, who was considered Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s right-hand man. He, along with Jinnah, was instrumental in passing the Pakistan Resolution in 1940 by the All India Muslim League, and campaigned for the creation of a separate nation for undivided India’s Muslims.

The budget has allocated Rs.10.13 billion for the uplift of the minorities.

On the announcement of loan waiver for farmers, Advani said that though Finance Minister P. Chidambaram quoted Saint Tiruvalluvar in his speech – that generous grants, compassion, righteous rule and succour to the downtrodden are the hallmarks of good governance – he has been reminded of these immortal words only in the last year of his office.

The BJP has made issues affecting farmers one of its main poll planks for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Its leaders have highlighted the plight of farmers and their large-scale suicides in their public meetings in the past few months.

Advani said farmers had suffered to no end as a result of agrarian distress and thousands of them had been compelled to commit suicide during the last four years. “All these years, the government merely looked on. Now, in the last year of their office, they are reminding us of the elements of good governance. I have no doubt that people will easily see through this charade,” he stated.

The BJP leader said that the loan waiver came too late and was insufficient. He said that since a large number of farmers had taken loans from private lenders, the budget should have provided relief to them too.

On the price rise front, he said: “This government came to power on the slogan of the aam admi (common man). But, it is the aam admi, especially the aam aurat (common woman) who has suffered the most during the last four years as a result of back-breaking price rise and insecurity of life and limb.”

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), part of the Sangh Parivar, also alleged that the budget could divide the country due to its communal bias.