BJP ministers on fast against Centre

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Bhopal, Apr 30(UNI) Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his cabinet colleagues have started a 24-hour ''fast'' from 1100 hours today to protest the UPA government's alleged discriminatory attitude towards BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.

The fast was being organised to highlight the Centre's ''step-motherly'' treatment to the state in allotting foodgrains for both BPL and APL categories, not providing assistance to meet drought in 37 of 48 districts and slashing the state's share of electricity from the Central pool and curtailing coal supply to thermal stations as part of a conspiracy to create power crisis ahead of the year end Assembly elections, the Chief Minister said.

Mr Chouhan is observing 'Upvas' at the busy Roshanpura square in New Market area of the state capital.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Chouhan said the federal structure as provided in the Constitution would get a set back if the Centre ignored the due interests of the states. ''The Centre should mend its attitude'', he said.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made and traffic diverted in view of Mr Chouhan's fast. Office-goers had a tough time to reach their offices as the traffic in New Market area had been diverted without advance notice.

State BJP President Narendra Singh Tomar is leading the fast in Sidhi, while BJP ministers are on fast at different district headquarters.

The BJP government, which recently launched the ''Annapoorna Yojana'' with pomp and show to provide subsidised foodgrains to each BPL family at Rs 3 per Kg wheat and Rs 4.50 per Kg rice with a view to garner electoral benefit in the coming elections, is peeved at the Centre not conceding its demand to treat the state's BPL families at 62.50 lakh as compared to 41.25 lakh families at present.

The Centre provides subsidised foodgrains at the rate of 35 Kg per family per month to 41.25 lakh BPL families only. Using the same quota, the BJP government launched the ''Annapoorna Yojana'' on April 26 under which each BPL family was given 20 Kg foodgrain per month.

Against the present allocation of 66,220 tonnes foodgrains per month for APL families, the state government sought additional allocation of 1.19 lakh tonnes per month in view of the drought situation.

The Chief Minister complained that the Centre had not released even a single paise for drought relief. From the Central pool, the state was getting only 31 megawatt electricity against 350 MW earlier.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has termed the BJP government's dharna against the Centre as a ''political stunt'' to divert the people's attention from its alleged failures to come up to the people's expectations.

UNI SP 1202

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