EC, Halim differ on schemes in vote-on-account budget

The Election Commission today categorically said no schemes or proposals could be projected in the vote-on-account budget but West Bengal Assembly Speaker H A Halim disagreed saying there is no constitutional bar if a pro-people announcement is made in the budget.

"It is a convention to submit a vote-on-account budget before an election takes place and no schemes or projects can be tabled," Chief Electoral Officer, Sunil Gupta told media persons here.

The Speaker, on the other hand at a press conference to announce the commencement of the session from March 10, said "Even a pro-people announcement, if there is any, in the vote-on-account during this budget session would not amount to violation of election model code of conduct".

He said that the Election Commission should have announced the state's poll schedule taking into account the budget session.

"Budget session of the house is a mandatory provision of the constitution. Some formalities have to be completed in this last session before the polls...The EC should have consulted me before announcing the dates," Halim said.

Halim said the upcoming Budget Session, which is the last session of the House, has been made brief in deference to the request of the Opposition parties.

To a question, Halim said the budget for the whole year would be tabled but a vote-on-account grant will be presented for the tenure of the present Left Front government.

"When the next government comes then they can continue with the budget as placed or they can table another budget," he said.

Gupta refused to make any comment on the Speaker's statement.

Trinamool threatens to move EC

Trinamool Congress today threatened to move the Election Commission if the Left Front government presents a full-fledged budget for 2011-12.

"If the government wants to table a full-fledged budget containing promises for the people, it requires adherence to the model code of conduct. We will take it up with the Election Commission before the budget session begins," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Partha Chatterjee told reporters.

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