By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 3: Sigling the growing bonhomie between the two parties, the ruling Congress and Opposition AGP on Wednesday launched a joint all-out offensive against Prime Minister rendra Modi and the NDA government at the Centre, leaving the handful of BJP legislators in the Assembly voiceless.
The AGP was more vociferous in the blitzkrieg, even suggesting an all-party demonstration at New Delhi to protest the alleged "neglect meted out to the State by the Central government".
The rendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre came under attack when minister Ajanta Neog, during the question hour, elaborated on the manifold increase of State share in Central schemes due to the delinking of support to several schemes by the NDA government.
In 2014-15, against the total Plan allocation of Rs 18,000 crore, the State's share was Rs 431 crore. In the current year, the State's share jumped to Rs 5,278 crore, though the Plan allocation increased to only Rs 25,400 crore, Neog said in response to a question by AGP MLA Phani Bhusan Choudhury.
She said ever since the NDA government came to power, there has been "no clarity" on Plan allocation.
"Due to the change in funding pattern and delinking of many schemes, the State government is having to spend an additiol Rs 2,951 crore. We anticipate losses of around Rs 9,000 crore this year," she said.
Phani Bhusan Choudhury then said the State government should press the Central government for releasing the allocated funds before the electoral model code of conduct comes into force.
Another AGP MLA Keshav Mahanta said many ongoing schemes have been delinked by the Centre. "These schemes were heavily dependent on central support. The Central government has also not released Rs 1,200 crore meant for erosion magement. The contractors have stopped working on the projects as they are apprehensive of getting their money," he pointed out.
BJP's Jadav Deka tried to defend the Central government pointing out to the hike in State's share of Central taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent, but Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi interrupted and said the hike has been for all the States and that the State wanted it to be increased to 50 per cent.
"The State has been scrapped of Special Status which we had been enjoying since 1969. When I pointed this out, the Prime Minister expressed helplessness, citing the recommendations of the sub-committee," Gogoi said. The CM was not in the House when the debate started, but rushed inside to join as the legislators mounted concerted attack on the Central government.
"It is not that I am protesting because it is a BJP government. I would have also fought had a Congress government taken such steps. The NITI Aayog has no 'Niti'…no planning. No CM cares about the NITI Aayog..it cannot give a single penny," the Chief Minister said.
Joining the attack, AGP's Keshav Mahanta said that in the last session, the House had resolved to send a committee to meet the Prime Minister on the issues. "But the Prime Minister did not give an appointment. It is very unfortute. If necessary, we all should stage a demonstration in Delhi."
Minister Rakibul Hussain said the Central government has cut 60,000 houses under the IAY scheme for the State. In MGNREGA, he said, the Centre was not releasing money even after the State submitted utilization certificates three times.
AGP legislature party leader Phani Bhusan Choudhury said the Prime Minister did not give an appointment when an all-party committee from the State wanted to meet him on the issue of ST status to six ethnic communities. "Is it that the Assam Assembly is not important for the Prime Minister? We did not go there as a party," he said.
The Chief Minister again joined the debate and claimed that the Prime Minister also did not give a hearing when eight CMs of the region wanted to meet him together to raise the issues concerning the region.
He maintained that he had repeatedly raised the issue of curtailing Central funds for the State at different forums, but to no avail.
He alleged that the Centre is pursuing a market economy that placed Assam at par with developed states like Maharashtra and Gujarat, which is an injustice for a backward State.
Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi, intervening in the matter, said the sentiment of the House will be reflected in the coming election.
He asked BJP legislature party leader Jadav Deka to "convey the sentiments of the House" to his party's high command.
The Assam Assembly had earlier adopted unimous resolutions twice for restoring special category status for the State and had also sent an all party delegation to meet the Prime Minister in this regard.