Cong refutes BJP charge on Central aid

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Bhopal, Feb 25 (UNI) The Congress today strongly denied Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's allegation that the UPA government was discriminating against the BJP government in the state and said the Centre was extending liberal assistance to the states ruled by the saffron party.

''The Central assistance to Madhya Pradesh is increasing year after year during the UPA regime, while the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had provided less assistance during the previous Congress rule in the state'', Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh told reporters here.

He said the Previous NDA government had provided about Rs 4000 crore, less than what was recommended by the 10th Finance Commission, to the state during his tenure.

Giving details, Mr Singh said the NDA government provided Rs 3035.98 crore to the state in 1998-99 and it came down to Rs 1498.84 crore in 2003-04. In contarary, he said, the Central assistance to the state's BJP government during the UPA rule rose remarkably from Rs 2335.14 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 6122.12 crore in 2007-08.

''Mr Chouhan's charge of discrimination was baseless'', he asserted.

Mr Singh also took exception to 'Kisan Mahapanchayat' organised by the BJP government in the state capital on the ''pretext of consultation'', saying it was in stark contrast to the Congress style as the consultation process was rural-oriented. ''Various announcements which are being made by the BJP government during the election year, lack budgetary support,'' he claimed.

Alleging that several thousands of farmers were jailed on charges of power theft, the Congress leader asked the BJP government to clarify whether any industrialist or urban dweller was jailed for similar offence.

''The announcement of the BJP government about concession to farmers on power bills was a fraud as the relief was only on surcharge consumption and not on actual electricity usage '', the former Chief Minister alleged, adding certains officers of the State Electricity Board were in collusion with contractors engaged in repair of transformers.

Farmers were compelled to sell sugarcane at Rs 30 to 40 per quintal, he charged, adding they were also deprived of transport subsidy.

Mr Singh alleged that the BJP was bent upon implementing ''Modi formula'' in all states to garner electoral gains by fanning communal tension and riots.

On another charge levelled by the BJP that BHEL had deliberately delayed commissioning of thermal units at Birsinghpur and Amarkantak in the state, Mr Singh said the main problem was the delay in the completion of the coal conveyer belt and untimely payment by the state government.

Referring to rampant corruption during the present BJP regime, he said, ''The Chief Minister has become weak as he is in distress while his Cabinet colleagues are getting fat.'' Mr Singh said the appointment of Union Minister Suresh Pachouri as MPCC chief brought renewed vigour to the party and the PCC Executive was likely to be formed soon.

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