Nirmala Sitharaman flays Cong MP Suresh over demand for separate nation for southern states


PTI, Feb 29, 2024, 9:19 AM IST

PTI photo

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has decried Congress MP D K Suresh’s statement that the southern states will be forced to demand for a separate nation due to the alleged injustice in the release of central grants to them.

Insisting that ”the central government has no role to play except for obeying the Finance Commission, Sitharaman said the states must sit with the Commission and highlight the weightage that will help them get the grants.” ”If southern states…I don’t want to club them as southern states…each one has its own strengths and it is also now getting into those very, very dangerous threshold of ‘Southern states together’. We will have ‘…’ (separate nation),” the finance minister said during an interactive event – ‘The Indian Express Adda’- here on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Bengaluru Rural MP Suresh said the southern states will be forced to demand for a separate nation if the alleged ‘injustice’ was not rectified.

He had claimed that taxes collected from the south were being distributed to north India and that the former (southern states) was not getting the due share.

”You have a responsible Member of Parliament (Suresh), brother of the Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, who says we will have a separate southern state. It cannot go to that extent. I’m sorry. I can’t be with that,” Sitharaman said.

Explaining further, she said, ”I’m coming from a southern state. I cannot wait a moment, stand next to anybody who says ‘we in the southern states then demand…it cannot be so. That is what I’m worried about.” Praising the southern states for performing better in the index, Sitharaman insisted that when the southern states sit with the Finance Commission, they have to highlight and speak about their demands and weightages.

The finance minister underlined that ”the central government has no role to play except for obeying the Finance Commission.” ”If the Finance Commissioner tells me you give this much per month, I have to do it. There’s no way in which any finance minister can tweak it in favour of one or the other,” Sitharaman added.

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