Tamil Nadu oppn parties flay Panneerselvam’s decision to skip meet of southern states
The Tuesday meeting of finance ministers of southern states is being held to discuss the proposals of the 15th Finance Commission which they fear could go against them.india Updated: Apr 09, 2018 19:43 IST
Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Monday targeted the ruling AIADMK over the state finance minister, O Pannerselvam’s (OPS) decision to skip a meeting of the finance ministers of south Indian states.
The meet on Tuesday in Kerala capital, Thiruvananthapuram, is being held to discuss the proposals of the 15th Finance Commission, which has suggested using the population data of 2011 to allocate funds rather than the 1971 census data that has been used till now.
Southern states fear that their share from devolution of central taxes will come down as they have managed to control population growth more effectively compared to their northern counterparts in the four decades.
Panneerselvam, who is also the state’s deputy chief minister, will not be attending the meet. A finance department official will be sent in his place, according to government sources.
The decision has drawn flak from opposition parties, who accused the AIADMK government of “toeing the Centre’s lines”.
“Is there any more proof needed that this government dances to the tunes of the Centre?” asked a senior opposition leader from CPM.
Its state secretary, G Ramakrishan said the state government has all along been defending the central government and all its decisions — demonetisation, GST. “So it is not surprising that it will not attend any meeting where the Modi government may come in for criticism on any front.”
DMK working president M K Stalin had requested the chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS) to send Panneerselvam to the meeting in the interests of the people of the state.
Congress leader Khushboo was polite but firm that the Tamil Nadu government should send a political representative to talk with the neighbours.
“Why the finance minister is not going it is for them to answer. The current Tamil Nadu government is definitely not speaking the language of the people of the state and is doing what the Centre is telling it to do,” she said.
Rebel AIADMK leader, C R Saraswathi mounted a stinging attack on the EPS-OPS government, calling it a shadow government of the BJP.
“This is not the Amma government or the AIADMK government that stood against the Centre on many issues of importance and relevance to Tamil Nadu. EPS-OPS are slaves to the Modi government and the BJP and are in power solely because of them. It got the two leaves symbol because of the central government and is in existence because of BJP. So it will not do anything that will annoy its masters and will not have anything to do with a meeting where Modi government will be criticised,” Saraswathi said.
Pattali Makkal Kaktchi founder S Ramadoss in a statement condemned the government and said that it was happy playing second fiddle to the central government.
Political commentator Sumanth C Raman said the Tamil Nadu finance minister shouldattend the meeting, note what discussions were taking place, so that these inputs could be used to protect the interests of the state.