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``States ruled by non-Congress parties neglected''

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MARCH 16. Assailing the Government's economic policies, the Opposition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday charged the Congress-led UPA coalition with neglecting the development of those States not under their rule.

Participating in the discussion on the Union budget 2005-06 on the second day, the BJP member, B.K. Deo, said the Centre had not provided an economic package to Orissa although it was the poorest among the States.

Putting the Congress on the firing line, Mr. Deo said that even when the party was in power at the Centre as also the State, it "perpetually neglected" issues which could have helped in its development.

The UPA coalition regime's decisions, he said, were also being taken under pressure from the Left parties, such as the renaming of the Disinvestment Ministry which was to keep those parties in "good humour."

At the same time, Mr. Deo charged that the Government's policies also showed up the "double face" of the Left parties as they ``kept mum'' over the hike in the FDI cap in the telecom sector.

The Congress member, Madhusudan Mistry, took a dig at the BJP's "India shining" campaign during the NDA tenure and countered that the Vajpayee Government's policies had led to widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

P. Karunakaran of the CPI stressed on greater resource mobilisation and urged the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, to continue with his budget's overall thrust and direction in future.

The Samajwadi Party member, Ramjilal Suman, said the quantum of loan being given to the farmers was not the main issue.

"The real issue is that their capacity to repay loans has been destroyed as we have opened up the agriculture sector to foreign competition without giving them any protection," he said, and demanded a special package for Uttar Pradesh.

While Ajay Maken (Congress) blamed the former NDA regime for the current economic ills, Radhika Selvi of the DMK sought abolition of the tax on cash withdrawals from banks.

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