Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Tuesday called for a "collective effort" to oppose the Centre's neglect towards the state and requested the Congress-led UDF opposition to join the protest against the Union government in Delhi on February 8.
Balagopal said that while the UDF was politically opposed to the Left government, if it was concerned about Kerala, then it should join the protest against the Centre.
The state finance minister further said that there was difference in the views of Congress leaders in Kerala and those outside on this issue.
Balagopal said that Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and former Union Minister P Chidambaram were both of the view that the Centre's alleged neglect towards Kerala and the resultant financial problems faced by the state were concerning.
"However, the Congress leaders in Kerala are not sharing that view due to their political differences with the LDF. But, what I have to say is that if they are concerned about Kerala's interests they should join the protest. I request them to do so," he said while speaking to reporters here.
The minister claimed that Kerala was deprived of around Rs 57,000 crore that it was to get from the Centre under various heads and that was the cause for the financial problems in the state.
"If we get even half of it, we can address various financial problems of the state," he said.
Balagopal further said that due to these adversities, the state was struggling, financially, to move forward.
"But, things have not come to a standstill despite all that. There are various payments, like DA arrears, which we have to make and we will make them. We are not shying away from that responsibility," he said.
That is why we are seeking the support of the UDF opposition in the protest against the Centre, he added.
"We need to work together, irrespective of our political differences, in the interests of the state," the minister said.
He also pointed out, during the press briefing, that Kerala was the state with the highest number of appointments -- around 60 per cent -- of the total appointments in the country.
At the same time, Kerala is the state which receives the least share from Central taxes in the entire country, Balagopal contended