Alleging lack of support from the Centre amid the economic crisis caused by coronavirus, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday urged Congress president Sonia Gandhi to lead a delegation of opposition CMs to the prime minister or president to discuss the issue. Gehlot gave the suggestion during a virtual meeting of Gandhi with chief ministers of opposition-ruled states to discuss a range of issues faced by them.
The Rajasthan CM also accused the Centre of “doing nothing” at a time when the revenue collection has declined and people are suffering. Everyone knows what economists are saying but the Centre "did nothing except holding video conferences", he said, claiming that the Union government did not consider their suggestions.
“We will have to make this an issue because without it, I understand, they are not going to pay attention. The situation is tough, people are suffering but the government is not paying any attention,” he added. “The economic package announced by the Centre is loan based. Situation of states is continuously failing; revenue collection has come down to 40 per cent; and there is no subsidy or grant from the Centre,” he said.
Urging the Congress president to lead a delegation opposition CMs, Gehlot said, “When a drought was there in the country, you had taken the chief ministers to the prime minister and it had an impact. The time has come that we chief ministers along with you go to the prime minister or president to talk."
He claimed that the Centre is yet to release GST compensation of nearly Rs 6,990 crore to the state. The CM said he has written several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard but did not get any reply. “Inflation is rising and without increasing purchasing power and without pumping money, the economy is not going to recover,” he added.
The chief minister said the coronavirus lockdown lasted long and the recovery will take time. He said the states are facing liquidity problem and there is a challenge of repayment of loans.
Gehlot said the federal structure in the country is being hit due to the Centre's conduct as it is taking steps only to “fulfil” the agenda of the RSS, instead of doing anything for the public and states. “States are surrounded with challenges from all sides but the Centre is only bothered about toppling state governments,” he said.