The BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, who has been extremely vocal in his criticism of the Uddhav Thackeray government since the coronavirus pandemic started, today said the centre has provided enough support to Maharashtra in terms of funds and trains. The impression that the state has been unfairly treated is not correct, he said, referring to the opposition allegation that states with non-BJP government are not getting central support.
The centre, he said, has given Rs 28,104 crore to the state. Over Rs 5,648 crore in devolution of taxes has also given to Maharashtra.
The state can even borrow from the centre, he told media persons in a virtual press conference today. Under the centre's new provision for funds, states can borrow up to 5 per cent of the GDP and Maharashtra can get Rs 1.6 lakh crore.
"We have fiscal space of Rs 1.2 lakh crore," he said. "We have a shortage in GST as business is on hold... the shortage in GST can be made up through borrowings," he added.
"State government can take steps... The government has to take steps. You cannot take steps saying there is no money," added the former chief minister in a clear dig at the Uddhav Thackeray government. Then, pointing to Congress-ruled Punjab, he said Amarinder Singh's government has already taken loans.
The Congress is part of the state's ruling alliance and the government and Mr Fadnavis's comment came amid reports of loosening ties, which the allies have vigorously denied.
Over the past weeks, as the coronavirus cases spiked in Maharashtra, Mr Fadnavis has repeatedly highlighted what he called the government's inability to handle the crisis. He has met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiary, questioned why the state was not announcing a relief package for the people, and held demonstrations against the government.