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Self-serving petty politics of BJP: Congress slams govt for ‘withholding’ funds for Karnataka

New Delhi: The Congress on Monday accused the Modi government of withholding funds that should “rightfully” go to Karnataka, saying the people of the state are being made to pay the price just because they exercised their democratic right to elect a Congress government. Congress general secretary in-charge, communications, Jairam Ramesh alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is constantly trying to “throttle” the finances of India’s states.

His remarks came after Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah alleged in a post on X that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is consistently denying the written word.

“The interim report of the 15 FC (Finance Commission) for 2020-21 sanctioned Rs 6764 crores for three states, viz Karnataka (Rs 5495 crores), Telangana (Rs 723 crores) & Mizoram (Rs 546 crores),” Siddaramaiah said.

“These grants were recommended not because of any special love for these states. These were recommended to ensure that no state receives a lower share in devolution in absolute numbers than the previous year,” he said.

In the final report, the 15th Finance Commission also recommended Rs 6,000 crore for Karnataka, Rs 3,000 crore for revival of water bodies and Rs 3,000 crore for the Peripheral Ring Road for Bengaluru, he said.

The Ministry of Finance refused to accept these two recommendations, thus denying the rightful share for Karnataka, Siddaramaiah said.

“Smt @nsitharaman avare, we are not asking for funds to our 5 Guarantees. We have adequate provision for those in our budget, thank you,” the chief minister said.

“Since you don’t seem to have any faith in or commitment to the federal polity enshrined in our Constitution, you don’t seem to understand the concept of rightful share of the states. Kannadigas demand their share. They are not begging,” Siddaramaiah said.

Tagging Siddaramaiah’s post, Ramesh said the Modi government and its “remote-controlled ministers” will cross every line to violate the spirit of federalism, sidestep the recommendations of constitutional bodies and unleash their political vendettas.

“This time, the price is being paid by the people of Karnataka, just because they exercised their democratic right to elect a Congress government,” he alleged.

Ramesh also pointed out that the Finance Commission had recommended Rs 5,495 crore in special grants, plus Rs 6,000 crore for specific projects, to be transferred to Karnataka.

Even though Karnataka contributes Rs 4.3 lakh crore each year in taxes, the finance minister, incidentally a member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, has rejected these recommendations and withheld almost Rs 12,000 crore in funds that should rightfully go to the state, he claimed.

“While CM Modi enjoyed talking about states’ problems and complaining about the share of funds going to Gujarat, PM Modi constantly tries to throttle the finances of India’s states,” Ramesh alleged.

“A few months ago, a top NITI Aayog official revealed that the Modi Sarkar had tried to intimidate the 14th Finance Commission into lowering the recommended share of taxes to the states,” he claimed.

On one side there is the ‘Bharat Jodo’ ideology of the Congress and on the other side, this “self-serving petty politics of the BJP”, Ramesh said.

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