Pune: Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday claimed that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is not being invited to the meetings that are being held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He then went on to opine that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should ask her to resign if he is not happy to with her work. Also Read - 'Sena's True Face Exposed,' Says Fadnavis After Prithviraj Chavan Claims it Approached Congress in 2014 Too
“Traditionally, pre-Budget meetings are conducted by the finance ministry. The entire Budget process happens at the finance ministry, under the finance minister’s guidance,” Chavan, who was a minister in the PMO during the UPA years, said. Also Read - Maharashtra: 'Unanimity Between Congress-NCP, Next Meeting With Sena to Finalise Govt,' Says Prithviraj Chavan
He claimed that Modi held 13 pre-Budget consultation meetings which were attended by top industrialists. “Surprisingly, to none of these meetings Sitharaman was invited,” he alleged. Also Read - ‘Maharashtra Will Have Stable Govt, Uncertainty Will End,’ Says Prithviraj Chavan After NCP-Congress Meet
If this meant that the prime minister was not happy with her performance, Sitharaman should be asked to resign, the Congress leader said. “This (keeping Sitharaman out of the loop) will demoralize the entire finance ministry staff as this is unprecedented,” Chavan added.
It must be noted that the Union budget would be presented on February 1.
Before the Modi government came to power, the Budget used to be presented on the last working day of February. The Modi government decided to advance it to the first day so that the budgetary process gets completed by March 31.
The exercise to prepare for the Budget started from October 14. It will be the second Budget of both the Modi 2.0 government and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.