The ongoing tussle between the Congress and its biggest ally Trinamool Congress over the bail-out package for the debt-ridden West Bengal reached the all-party meeting convened Lok Sabha Speaker on Monday.
Trinamool's chief whip Kalyan Banerjee surprised many by attacking the Centre for non-release of funds to the state. "We are not begging for money. We are demanding our due. The Centre gets large sums of money from the states. But it is not giving funds to us," the Trinamool leader reportedly said in the meeting.
Later, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee refused to speak in the meeting even after the Speaker requested him.
The Congress and the Trinamool-led West Bengal government have been engaged in a war of words over the sanction of Rs 8,750 crore bail-out package for the state approved by the Union cabinet.
While Trinamool is alleging that the Centre is not releasing the fund, the Congress pointed out that the Centre is indeed helping the state.
The Trinamool representative also mentioned that his leader Mamata Banerjee has asked him to raise the issue.
He also demanded that the lion's share of the Centre's revenue should go to the state and also demanded a discussion on the issue in the upcoming budget session.
While West Bengal chief minister is reportedly upset with the Centre for the alleged non-release of funds, she also wants the Centre to give a moratorium on payment of the interest on loans. Banerjee had recently met Mukherjee and reportedly sought money for her state.
Chief ministers of other states like Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and J Jayalalitha (Tamil Nadu) have also demanded special package for their respective states.