The ruling Congress party in Punjab has asked people in the state to hoist the national flag on May 1 from their homes and rooftops to protest the Centre’s “discrimination” against non-BJP-ruled states.
In neighbouring Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has suggested a 15-point formula to the prime minister for the way ahead, which includes demands such as freedom to states for taking a call on allowing economic and industrial activities and a stimulus package for industry and trade.
Gehlot has recommended the Centre should give states a grant of Rs 1 trillion, encourage increased fiscal expenditure for economic revival, increase GST compensation to 10 years and a six-month moratorium on payment of loan instalments.
Other suggestions are introducing a scheme for payment of wages to labourers, a national plan be made to ferry migrant labourers, restore interstate supply chain, purchase up to 50 per cent of agriculture produce on MSP, centralised purchase of medical equipment, ways and means advance should be interest free and increase net loan limit to states to 5 per cent.
Last week, Gehlot had also complained of the Centre’s “discriminatory” attitude against non-BJP ruled states, particularly in the context of movement of migrants.
In Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has repeatedly complained of the Centre not providing any financial assistance to his state. He has bemoaned that the Centre has also rejected a request to allow liquor sales, a big source of revenue for the states. On Monday, Singh sent a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah requesting that economic activity should be allowed in all areas except containment zones.
A Congress leader pointed out that while Singh's request is yet to be heeded, Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath on Tuesday asked his state administration to prepare a plan to start economic activities in the state's green and orange zones.