In happier times: Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray with CM Devendra Fadnavis
Being a ruling partner with the BJP in the government has never stopped the Shiv Sena from taking potshots at its ally. Yesterday was no different, with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray slamming the Union Budget, and saying that it was useless as last year's promises were still unfulfilled. He also questioned why the decision of demonetisation was not declared in the last Budget itself.
While the Opposition joined Uddhav in criticising the government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhey praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley for their vision.
Useless for Sena
"People have suffered a lot of demonetisation and that suffering can never be corrected. The government says it has collected a huge amount of income tax, but it is a fact that tax thieves and loan defaulters were not taken to task. Instead, commoners were held to ransom by the government," Uddhav said. He added that the annual Budget would be useless if the promises made last year remained unfulfilled. "Then there would be no need of annual budgets," he said.
All for raise hands
Fadnavis said the Budget was a game changer and would ensure all-inclusive development of the country. "It defines the word 'historic' in a real sense, as it aims at creating a new India," he added. The CM also said that the Centre was committed to eradicating corruption by waging a war on black money and tax evasion. "Thrust on demonetisation, cashless regime and development across sectors at rural and urban levels make the Budget special. Donations to political parties have been made transparent, and this move intensifies our fight against corruption," he said, while thanking Modi.
Mungantiwar said the Union government was all for dignity of the farmers and the poor. "The Budget focuses on farmers, poor, women and youth. It highlights a perspective for the welfare of farmers and the poor," he added. "The Centre's planning is going in the right direction; it will put the country firmly on the path of development. This Budget will surely help to end the inequality in India, as visualised by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar."
Upadhey said the Budget would fulfil the wishes of the underprivileged and rein in corruption. "We need to understand the political and social significance of the Budget by going beyond the matrix of statistics," he said.
For the rich?
Opposition leader in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said the rich were the Budget's target audience. "Only raees (the rich) are at centre stage. The poor are last in the government's priority list. The Modi government is not kaabil (capable) of doing justice to the commoners," he added.
Opposition leader in the Council Dhananjay Munde said the Budget was anti-poor and anti-farmer. "It gives concessions to industry and ignores farmers. Gujarat has got an AIIMS-like institution, but Maharashtra has been given nothing of that sort. This Budget is a game of numbers. It's a jugglery that does not resonate with the ground reality," he said.
Rahul Laud (26) Consultancy firm employee
'I will be able to save more due to less taxation. Knowing that the rich will be taxed more has increased my faith in the system. They have increased allocation for roads and highways, so hopefully, the condition will get better. I also hope that with all the other financial regulations, such as demonetisation, in play, the money will end up in the right hands'
Karan Remedios (24) Analyst at a financial firm
'For a guy falling within the R2.5 lakh-5 lakh tax slab, reduction in income tax from 10% to 5% gives me additional spending power. The change in the donation parameter for political parties and introduction of electoral bonds gives more clarity on the way the parties will be receiving money, while the rule making it must for them to file income tax returns will help in curbing corruption'
Manisha Kayande Shiv Sena spokesperson
'The cap on political funding is a welcome move. Earlier, the limit was Rs 20,000. Proposed R2,000 limit will help in controlling black money used in parties. However, national parties are still finding ways to evade laws. After demonetisation, several cases of cash, that too of new notes, were found in possession of political party leaders. In these cases, the government is yet to conduct an investigation'
Niranjan Shetty BJP spokesperson
'This will help to change people's views of political parties. Usually, people think that political parties are hubs of black money... PM Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley have done a 'surgical strike' on political parties banking on black money'
Sanjay Nirupam Mumbai Congress president
'It (cap on funding) is a very good move and all parties should follow it. But the only question is how will the BJP comply with the new norm as its funding has been always mysterious. All parties have declared source of their funding, only the BJP is shying away and not sharing details. It only speaks about transparency, does nothing'