To begin with, the decision of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Venkaiah Naidu to set up the Rajnath Singh committee to vet the Kelkar Task Force reports on direct and indirect taxes was wrong. It has curtailed the options available to the finance minister and has created an avoidable political controversy on many issues that ought to have been resolved on more professional lines. Worse, Mr Naidu followed up this initiative by beginning a process of consultations with business chambers and other sectional interests on economic and fiscal policy. This will further constrain the margin for manoeuvre for the finance minister. By acquiescing to this political interference into his ministerial functioning, Union finance minister Jaswant Singh may have well opened a Pandoras Box that his successors may find that much more difficult to close. What now prevents the other constituents of the National Democratic Alliance to put forward their political demands and where then does this policy of fiscal management by political appeasement stop The relevant political arbiter is the Parliament. Every elected representative of the people has the right to participate in public debates in Parliament and suggest changes to the Union budget. Rather than allow that kind of public debate to shape budgetary policy, the BJP may be allowing hush-hush lobbying to take over the budgetmaking process. Ironically, while the finance minister has tried to push for transparency in policymaking and has invited comments via e-mail on his ministrys website, the BJP president is using closed door discussions to solicit political opinion on budget policy. This process can go out of control and politicise fiscal policy beyond repair.