KOLKATA: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a four-page letter on behalf of Bengal and all the states saying she is deeply anguished by the GST imbroglio, and urged the PM not to belie the trust between the states and the Centre.
The CM said the Centre should not allow an insufferable blow to federal structure of the country.
This was Banerjee's first communication with Modi since the GST council meeting.
Referring to AGs apparent opinion that it is not the responsibility of central government to compensate states for GST shortfall in the pandemic situation, she said this appears to be an onslaught on the democratic and federal structure of the country and an act of subterfuge to undermine the trust reposed by the states in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
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Stating her displeasure at the outcome of the GST meet held on August 27, in which five non-BJP states rejected the central government’s proposal that states could borrow to meet their current GST shortfall, Mamata wrote, "I am deeply anguished by the GST imbroglio which tantamounts to a betrayal of the trust and moral responsibility of the Government of India towards the states, violating the very premise of federalism."
Banerjee reminded BJP’s stance on GST issue before the party came to the power at the Centre. She wrote, "May I remind you that, not only you, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, opposed the implementation of GST on various grounds, but Late Shri Arun Jaitley also unambiguously and publicly stated in December 2013 that the sole reason why BJP was opposing the GST implementation is that the party did not trust the then Government of India…. Today, his words are ringing in our ears as we are losing trust in the BJP government at the Centre."
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Mentioning how the unorganised sector, the migrant workers and the unemployed youth and labour force are facing acute crisis of survival despite the state government’s assistance, the chief minister further wrote: "I sincerely urge you to intervene on this matter to rekindle the trust between States and the Centre at the GST Council—a trust that had held for over 3 years and 40 meetings of the Council, despite occasional differences of merits, cutting across party lines."