CHANDIGARH: The ruling Congress in Punjab accused the Narendra Modi government on Thursday of meting out "stepmotherly" treatment to the state and "deliberately delaying" the release of Rs 4,100 crore in GST compensation to it.
The party also threatened to hold a protest outside the Parliament against the Centre if it did not stop "discrimination" against Punjab.
"It is very unfortunate that the Central government has withheld Rs 4,100 crore of Punjab GST," state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar said.
He described the "deliberate delay" in the release of funds as "ill-fated" and demanded that the Centre release it without any delay.
The state Congress chief also asked the Modi government to stop meting out "stepmotherly" treatment to the state.
Jakhar's remarks came days after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressing shock over the delay in the release of Rs 4,100 crore of GST compensation.
He had also sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this regard.
The Punjab Congress chief accused the Centre of "acting contrary" to the basic spirit and ethics of the country's federal structure.
"The BJP government implemented a flawed GST in haste. Apart from this, the states were no longer paid the amount as promised to compensate losses incurred by them in the new GST system," Jakhar said in a statement.
He claimed that because of the Centre's decision of demonetisation, imposition of "faulty" GST and "wrong" economic policies, there has been a "recession" in every sector of the country's economy.
"Due to this, GST collections in the states declined sharply. Punjab's GST collection nosedived by 44 per cent. It is not just the problem of Punjab; all the states are in distress.
GST collection is reduced by 40 per cent in Himachal Pradesh and 24 per cent in Haryana too," Jakhar claimed.
He said while the chief minister would raise the issue with the Prime Minister's Office, the Congress party would also raise voice against the Centre at all platforms to "expose" them.
"The Central government should release (Punjab's) GST share soon, instead of forcing the Congress to finalise such protest," he said.
Flaying the BJP-led Centre for the "unbecoming" behaviour with states governed by anti-BJP parties, he said, "If the Union government does not stop discrimination against Punjab, then the Congress will be forced to go to Delhi to protest against the Modi government outside Parliament."