Mann criticized the Center for allegedly withholding rural development funds from the state and forcing it to plead for its share in Goods and Services Tax collection.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has accused the BJP-led central government of displaying an ‘anti-Punjab mentality,’ suggesting that they might even consider removing the word ‘Punjab’ from the national anthem if given the chance. Mann criticized the Center for allegedly withholding rural development funds from the state and compelling it to seek its share in Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection.
During the inaugural day of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha’s two-day winter session, Mann expressed his concerns.
‘Anti-Punjab Mentality of BJP Government’
Participating in a debate on the Punjab Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Mann emphasized that the BJP government at the Center exhibits an “anti-Punjab” mindset. Despite Punjab’s significant contributions to the nation’s food grain production and having the highest representation in the Army, Mann lamented the consistent neglect from the Central government. In the House, Mann stated, “Every day they do something which shows that Punjab is not a part of the country… The BJP is anti-Punjab.”
Mann on MSP
Accusing the BJP of aiming to abolish the Minimum Support Price (MSP), Mann claimed that the party’s actions, such as advocating for FIRs against farmers and not paying Rural Development Fund (RDF), demonstrate an anti-Punjab stance. He questioned the silence of Punjab BJP leaders and the former chief minister, Amarinder Singh, in the face of what he described as numerous anti-Punjab decisions by the Centre. Mann added, “If the Centre has its way, they would have dropped Punjab from ‘Jana Gana Mana’ [the national anthem].”
Mann further alleged that the BJP is intentionally causing economic harm to states where it is not in power and accused the misuse of investigative agencies like the CBI and the ED. He claimed that the Modi government is afflicted with an “anti-Punjab syndrome,” leading them to be “hell-bent” on ruining the state. Additionally, Mann asserted that the Union government’s indifference has made agriculture unprofitable, and the Centre is attempting to abolish the MSP on food grains while unfairly blaming Punjab farmers for environmental pollution in the national capital.