Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday demanded a fresh constitution for the country along genuinely federal lines.
Winding up the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address in the Punjab assembly, Badal lamented that states in the country had been reduced to the status of beggars, as the meagre powers given to them were progressively eroded by the central government.
'Let us decide': Parkash Singh Badal also said that 50 per cent of revenue collected by the central government should be given to the states to carry out development works according to their felt needs. File pic.
He claimed that the constitution was not in tune with the requirements of the changing times and, as a result, the country was not able to fully utilise its potential for development and prosperity. Badal suggested the setting up of a new constituent assembly to frame a new constitution. He asserted that states were the best qualified to understand and address the problems of the people in an effective manner.
“Our party was the first to raise this demand because it is in the interest of the country to grant autonomy to the states,” Badal said. Advocating the line that “strong states mean strong nation”, he pleaded for recasting the formula for devolution of funds to the states, demanding that 50 per cent of revenue collected by the central government be given to the states to carry out development works according to their felt needs.
Badal also demanded transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi- speaking areas to the state. “Chandigarh is the soul and spirit of Punjab and must be transferred to us without further delay,” he said. He added that states like Punjab were suffering owing to the wrong policies adopted by the central government.