Called Khalistani if I seek more powers for states: Badal

August 11th, 2011 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Fazilka (Punjab), Aug 11 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said Thursday that the central government dubs him a Khalistani, a separatist seeking an independent homeland for Sikhs, if he raises the issue of giving more powers to state governments.

Addressing a rally of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance in this south-west Punjab town, Badal said he had been advocating reworking the federal structure in the country to give more powers to states.

“If I seek more powers for state governments, they (the central government) dub me a Khalistani. At present, the centre takes away the lion’s share of power and money, leaving very little for states,” Badal told the rally, organised to thank the state government headed by him for making Fazilka a full-fledged district.

The Punjab government last month declared Fazilka and Pathankot the newest districts in the state, taking the total number of districts in the state to 22.

“I am thankful to the BJP (national) president Nitin Gadkari for recently holding a conference on powers to states. State governments should have more role and say in governance and managing their finances. The central government takes away most of the money from taxes, leaving the states at its mercy for every small thing,” Badal said.

Punjab witnessed a bloody phase of terrorism between 1980 till 1995, leaving over 25,000 people dead. A section of people had started demanding Khalistan (land of the pure) as an independent Sikh nation.

In his address, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said states needed more powers but the centre was not willing.

He said the creation of Fazilka as a full-fledged district would benefit people as this would lead to more development in this backward area of the state.

Fazilka is over 350 km from the state capital Chandigarh.

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