Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah on Saturday said the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government was “faint-hearted” because it lacked the courage to confront Prime Minister Narendra Modi on safeguarding the state’s interests.
Siddaramaiah was speaking with reporters on the flood situation and the state’s financial condition in the wake of the Centre delaying GST compensation.
“They should go there, sit with the PM, Finance Minister and Home Minister to get funds. That’s how we used to do it before. We’d go petition them 2-3 times. But they’re scared to even meet the PM. This is a pukkal government,” Siddaramaiah said.
“When GST was rolled out in 2017, an agreement was made in the GST Council that the Centre will compensate states for any revenue shortfall for a five-year period,” Siddaramaiah said. “Instead of asking states to borrow from the RBI, why can’t the Centre borrow to compensate states?”
The former chief minister said the Centre cheated Karnataka on flood relief as well. “For last year’s floods, the state asked for Rs 35,000 crore, but the Centre gave only Rs 1,869 crore. Also, compensation is yet to reach people whose homes were damaged. School buildings haven’t been reconstructed; they’re still functioning under sheets,” he said.
The Congress will raise this in the monsoon session of the legislature slated to start September 21, Siddaramaiah said. “But whenever we bring this up in the Assembly, they don’t give proper answers.”
Siddaramaiah was addressing a news conference after completing his home isolation following his recovery from Covid-19. “I have resumed my activities. I will visit my constituency, Badami, next week.”
Irresponsible attitude: HDK
Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) lambasted the Centre over the GST compensation issue.
“The irresponsible attitude of the Centre in shirking its commitment towards GST shortfall of the states is condemnable. It has dealt a blow to the federal structure of the country by describing the crisis arising out of COVID-19 pandemic as an unforeseen ‘act of God’,” he said in tweets, accusing the Centre of ruining the economy.
Act of God never happened: Kharge
Rajya Sabha member Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday said the non-payment of GST compensation would further hurt the states that were already under financial stress. “The Central government cannot avoid its commitment by invoking an ‘Act of God’ that never happened. This is a violation of trust in federalism,” the veteran Congressman said in a tweet.