UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's digital scheme to woo voters
UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.Reuters

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, petitioning that the release of the Union Budget should be delayed from the scheduled date of February 1, as it is unfair for the states contesting Assembly elections.

The Supreme Court had ruled earlier this week that the central government is not required to move the union budget from February 1 until after the elections as demanded by some parties in states like Uttar Pradesh.

Akhilesh, in his letter, said that if the union budget is announced before state Assembly elections, then Uttar Pradesh will be deprived of certain schemes, which could help the most populous state of India. The Election Commission had ordered that the union budget cannot include any schemes or announcements which may sway voters in the five states where the elections will commence soon.

In Punjab and Goa, the voting will begin on February 4. Voting for the Assembly elections will be conducted in seven stages across UP from February 11. Uttarakhand and Manipur are the others to go to polls. All the election results are expected to be announced on March 11. 

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the budget announcement cannot be delayed because of the state elections. The Modi government, last year in September, had decided to merge the annual budget with the rail budget and also decided on advancing the date of the general budget. 

Akhilesh appealed to Modi, saying that the election commission rules could restrict the government from announcing certain schemes for the benefit of the residents, lest it seem influential, which will in turn impact the welfare of the state and affect all the 20 crore citizens of UP.

Akhilesh Yadav's party has allied with the Congress to counter Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party in the state elections. The BJP has not yet announced a chief ministerial candidate and the PM is leading the election campaign in the state.  

Akhilesh's letter