Punjab Deputy CM now does U-turn, praises Modi

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) A day after Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal accused the central government for reducing states to the status of “mere beggars”, he on Sunday made a U-turn, now lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “promoting federalism”.

In Sunday’s statement, he now blamed the Congress for reducing the states to the level of beggars before the central government and accused them of stalling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill.

A statement issued by the office of Sukhbir Badal, who is also president of NDA constituent Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday, accused the central government of reducing states to the status of “mere beggars”.

He had emphasised on the dire need for a “genuine federal structure” in India with devolution of more powers to states, while also accusing the central government of “usurping the rights and authority of the states in violation of the spirit and provisions of the Constitution”.

On Sunday, Sukhbir Badal, welcoming Prime Minister Modi’s call for promoting federalism, said that the “country was poised for a genuine federal structure”.

The Modi government had on Saturday during the Inter-State Council meeting assured all states that it wants to promote federalism in India, saying the country will progress well only if the centre and states work as a “Team India”.

Calling for an all-party consensus in favour of the Prime Minister’s initiative, Sukhbir Badal said: “The country is poised for a genuine federal structure and we must rise above political differences to make use of this historic opportunity.

“The ball has been set rolling by the Prime Minister for fiscal autonomy and it is for all states and all political parties to forget political differences to make use of the political and constitutional opening created by the new atmosphere under NDA government at the Centre.”

Hitting out at the Congress, he said: “We have come a long way from the times when successive Congress governments indulged in constitutional rampage and reduced the states to the level of beggars at centre’s door.”

Claiming the party was out to stall the GST bill which was of utmost necessity for the Country’s progress, he said: “It is clear that for NDA and BJP country comes first, and for Congress, ‘politics’ comes first.”



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