New Delhi: The Election Commission’s announcement to conduct free and fair Assembly elections in seven phases till February 28 in Uttar Pradesh may force the Union Government to reschedule its budget session commencing from February 26.

As per the rules, the Rail Budget and the General Budget are presented on February 26 and February 29 respectively. The presentation of General Budget cannot be extended beyond February 29.

In fact, the Budget Session will be extended till March 3 due to Model Code of Conduct placed in Goa.

Therefore, the Centre will have to find out the ways to avoid the Model Code jurisdiction.

Commenting on the issue, Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi said, “The EC announced the schedule, now the government has to decide the date of budget.”

In fact the Centre has limited options. It is being said that the Centre may skip the announcement for projects related to states. But the opposition may blame it for giving direct benefit to states.

The General Budget is presented at 12 pm while election process will stretch till 5 pm in evening on the same day. Certainly, the government will face difficulty in announcing the projects for states. It may constitute violation of the code.

Sources said the government may consider presenting the budget on February 28 evening and the very next day the Rail Budget may be presented in the Parliament.

Speculation is also rife that Rail Budget and General Budget may be presented on February 28 and February 29 respectively.