New Delhi: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday clarified that the protest by the Karnataka Congress government in New Delhi on February 7 was aimed at addressing the ‘injustice’ by the Union government regarding tax devolution to the state, rather than being directed against the BJP.
In response to the issue being raised in Parliament, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman characterized the narrative surrounding the issue as “politically vitiated.” She suggested that “vested interests” were propagating the notion that the Centre was withholding funds meant for non-BJP governed states.
Highlighting the “injustice” faced by Karnataka, Siddaramaiah urged the opposition BJP to participate in the protest, emphasizing that the struggle was not against the saffron party, reported news agency PTI.
He announced that on February 7, all ministers, MLAs, and MPs from the southern state would protest against the Centre at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for “injustice caused to Karnataka state by the 15th Finance Commission and several other issues concerning the state including grants from the Centre.”
“The struggle is not between Congress and the BJP or against the BJP, it is against injustice caused to Karnataka state,” Siddaramaiah added, as per the PTI report.
Siddaramaiah pointed out the disparity in tax shares between the 14th and 15th Finance Commissions, highlighting a loss of Rs 62,098 crore in taxes for the state. Additionally, he highlighted the severe drought situation in Karnataka, citing a crop loss of Rs 35,000 crore and a request for Rs 17,901 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), which has not yet been fulfilled by the Centre.
“After we submitted the memorandum to the Government of India, the central team had come to Karnataka and visited the affected areas, and submitted a report to the Centre, but so far no meeting has been held by the Government of India to look into the report submitted by the central team. So far we have not received a single paisa from the Centre through NDRF,” he said, the PTI report added.
Stating that the opposition BJP has been making false allegations against the Government of Karnataka alleging it has not paid any relief towards crop compensation, Siddaramaiah said the state government has released Rs 2,000 as first installment to each of the affected farmers benefiting 34 lakh of them.
“About Rs 650 crore has been released for this. In addition to that, more than Rs 800 crore are with Deputy Commissioners of districts to take up relief works, and to provide drinking water, fodder, and other necessities,” he said.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman Hits Back
In the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said no Union finance minister can play with the Finance Commission’s recommendations.
Responding to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s query on the Karnataka government’s claim, Sitharaman said such a situation cannot happen as the “system is well placed” and the central government works according to recommendations of the Finance Commission.
“This apprehension that some states are being discriminated against is a politically-vitiated narrative which, I am sorry to say, vested interests are happy to go about saying,” she said during Question Hour, reported PTI.
“This is just not a possibility that any finance minister can intervene to say that ‘I don’t like this state, stop payment’. No way. It can’t happen that way. The system is well placed,” she added.
Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt