‘UPA discriminating against non-Congress States’

The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and senior members of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday accused the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre of discriminating against the non-Congress-ruled States.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari, presiding over a conference here on ‘The Policies of UPA — A threat to Indian Federalism’, said the trend of discrimination was a threat to the federal polity of the country. “Bills for the country’s progress and security are passed by the State Assemblies but stay with the Governor for years without any action. This brazen misuse of Governor’s office is hindering the progress of States,” he charged.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said a State like Punjab that contributes over 60 per cent foodgrains to the Central pool has no say in the price of the final product or the cost of inputs. “My post seems hollow as I have no power to bring about any change in the agricultural field because the Centre has taken full control of it. Also the division of lists is such that States get all the area where work needs to be done and the Centre gets the areas where revenue needs to be collected. From the sale price of grains to cost of diesel, fertilizer and insecticide all is as per their orders and neither the farmer nor his representative have any say,” he said.

Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the federal concept of the country was to ensure division of work between the Central and State governments for optimum utilization of resources but the present government discriminates against the States that are not led by the Congress. “The Inter-State Council has not met even once in the last three years so there is no platform for interaction. Without releasing any funds, the Central Government announces a policy or project and we are held responsible for its implementation even if we have a better scheme already running or we need something else instead,” he said.

“We have been requesting that a railway line be built up to Leh so that the movement of the Army can be easier and the tough terrain of Leh can be accessed in case of emergencies but instead of considering it a matter of strategic importance, the Railway Ministry favours the Minister’s State,” he said, adding that the government bends rules to benefit corporate and MNCs but it creates hurdles for State governments and ultimately the States are held answerable.

“The Congress-led Central Government has utterly failed in controlling and checking the unprecedented price rise, black money and terrorism yet with its unconstitutional policies and with the blatant misuse of Governors, it is trying to destabilise the NDA- ruled State governments,” Mr Gadkari said.

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