Ruling SAD's MP from Punjab, Naresh Gujral, today asked the Centre to be impartial on the issue of granting financial package to states and sought to be treated on a par with West Bengal, where UPA ally Trinamool Congress is in power.
"The Centre has to deal with all the states evenly and it is in the interest of national unity that the claims of no state are overlooked," Naresh Gujral, MP of ruling Akali Dal in Punjab, said here.
The Rajya Sabha member said that while Punjab would welcome a financial package to West Bengal, it hoped their state would not be ignored on the same issue. He said Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had earlier taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would again raise the issue with him.
"We hope the Prime Minister would be impartial.... The government cannot say we will give a financial package only for West Bengal.... All states be treated at par. Our claims should not be ignored," he said.
"In this case, the committee constituted by the finance ministry itself has recommended that finances of three states -- Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal -- should be reorganised. While we welcome the package to West Bengal, we hope Punjab will not be overlooked, only because the ruling party in Punjab is part of the opposition at the national level," said Gujral.
Punjab has been asking for a financial package along with states of West Bengal and Kerala as per the recommendations of the finance ministry panel.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is part of the UPA alliance, has been asking for a package for the state and has even set a deadline for the Centre.
Banerjee has kept the UPA on tenterhooks on certain contentious issues in the recent past and has been of late lobbying with various parties on the Presidential elections.