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The UPA government and its Left allies agreed on Thursday that the coming Budget should be an ‘aam aadmi’ Budget.

 

According to leaders of the coalition government present at the meeting, the wish lists of the UPA partners and the Left allies more or less coincided in their desire for more social sector spending and lowering of interest rates on agricultural credit.

 

The allies were one voice when it came to demanding that the finance ministry sacrifice something from its part of the pie of petroleum revenue instead of raising the prices.

 

The only thing that the allies bickered over in the coordination committee meeting called today was the Women’s Reservation Bill.

 

The contentious issue remained the Women’s Reservation Bill. The Left demanded that the Bill be introduced in the Budget session of Parliament, if not in its earlier avatar then at least as an amendment in the Representation of People’s Act, which would enjoin political parties to distribute at least one-third tickets to women candidates in the elections.

 

The lone voice of dissent was Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

 

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi then asked Prasad as to what he wanted. Prasad’s only reply to her question was that she was well aware of his problems with the Bill and its many forms. His party has been demanding reservations for the Dalit and OBC women in the women’s quota.

 

The matter was then left unresolved. The meeting lasted for 25 minutes.

Hope this resolves the matter in Budget 2008.



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