New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prior to the presentation of Budget 2020 on February 1, Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan claimed that in the pre-Budget meetings which were held in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was not invited and all of the pre-Budget meetings are done without the finance minister.  

He also said that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not happy with her performance as finance minister, he should ask her to resign from the post.

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"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 also served as a minister in the PMO during the UPA years, said.

Chavan also claimed that PM Modi held 13 pre-Budget meetings with top industrialists of the country, without the finance minister. "Surprisingly, to none of these meetings Sitharaman was invited. 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 demoralise the entire finance ministry staff as this is unprecedented," Chavan added. He further said, “It seemed that the prime minister had taken control of the finance ministry. Even if the Budget speech will be made by the finance minister, it (the speech) would be of PM".

He also highlighted the falling economy and Modi and said that becoming a $5 trillion economy would be difficult if the per capita income will not improve. "The growth rate is at its lowest right now and since it is at its lowest, the per capita income will not improve and in such a condition, the target of becoming $5 trillion economy is not possible (to achieve)," Prithviraj Chavan said.

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Chavan also questioned the BJP government’s promise to bring back the black money from abroad and said that “no action has been taken by the Modi government against the people whose names were in the Panama papers investigation”.

He also said that even Pakistan took stern action against its former PM Nawaz Sharif when his name came up in the investigations. "A country like Pakistan took action against former PM Nawaz Sharif (when his name came up)."

Posted By: Talib Khan