Mamata accuses centre of discrimination over financial aid

Kolkata, April 19 (IANS) Livid at the central government for approving a special package of Rs.12,000 crore for Bihar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday accused the Congress-led UPA of “political discrimination” and “depriving” her cash-strapped state.

“Very recently, (a) few states have been granted thousands of crores of rupees by the central government. It is very good. We support that all states must get financial help. But let us know why West Bengal is being singularly deprived? Is it a political vendetta, guided by narrow politics,” Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, said in a Facebook post.

Her comment on the social networking site came after the United Progressive Alliance government’s decision to clear the special package for Bihar.

The union cabinet Thursday substantially enhanced the special grant for Bihar to Rs.12,000 crore for the next four years.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The announcement came at a time when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United have expressed disagreement over the likely projection of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the NDA’s potential prime ministerial candidate ahead of the 2014 general elections.

“Is it not undemocratic and unethical to provide funds to those states which suit the centre’s politics? We always ‘hold our head high’ and ‘mind without fear’. But you all see for yourselves, how injustice and political discrimination is depriving Bengal from its legitimate demands,” the Trinamool chief said.

Stating that the 12th Finance Commission had identified West Bengal as one of the most debt-stressed states, she said that no other state had a huge debt of Rs.200,000 crore passed by the previous government.

“All we want is not to stand before the central government with a begging bowl. We want justice. We want a transparent debt-restructuring plan so that we can invest crore of revenue earned by us be spent for infrastructure development,” she said.

The chief minister added that instead of providing financial help to West Bengal, every year the central government was taking away over Rs.25,000 crore against interest and repayment for the debt.

Seeking financial package for her state, Banerjee had earlier met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

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