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Non-BJP CMs mince no words

Non-BJP CMs mince no words
Highlights

The fourth meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog held on Sunday presented three interesting factors. One was an insight into the mind of the Centre which wants to hold simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies an idea which the NDA government has been toying with for quite sometime now.

The fourth meeting of the governing council of NITI Aayog held on Sunday presented three interesting factors. One was an insight into the mind of the Centre which wants to hold simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies an idea which the NDA government has been toying with for quite sometime now.

The meeting also brought to fore the opposition unity of Chief Ministers of non-BJP ruled states. This meeting also witnessed the presence of record number of CMs including that of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. The meeting also provided an opportunity for all states to put forward their view points.

At this key meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked spirit of ‘Team India’ and said, "the Governing Council has approached complex issues of governance... in the spirit of cooperative, competitive federalism". This assumes importance in the backdrop of four Chief Ministers extending support to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who has been on a sit-in at the house of Lt Governor Anil Baijal for almost a week.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh’s Chandrababu Naidu, Kerala's Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka’s Kumaraswamy met PM Modi on the side-lines of the meeting to seek resolution of what they called a ‘constitutional crisis’.

The Prime Minister called upon Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to give suggestions on how to increase agricultural production and urged the state governments to formulate policies to promote industry participation in the farm sector.

Speaking on various aspects of the economy, Modi said that the world expects India to become a five trillion dollar economy soon. He encouraged states to give fresh ideas to the Finance Commission, for incentivising outcome-based allocations, and expenditure correction. Emphasising on the need for taking the growth rate from present 7.7 per cent to double digit.

While welcoming the views of Modi, the non-BJP states made it clear that they are geared up to confront the Modi government on various issues like 15th Finance Commission report and distribution of Central funding. They minced no words in blaming the Centre for not bothering to know the problems of the state governments and alleged that the Central government had weakened the federal structure of the Constitution.

They expressed their unhappiness that the Centre was not following cooperative federalism and was interfering into state affairs. The concerted effort by the opposition leaders is seen as another attempt to unite various parties against the BJP in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

While Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao pitched for tax incentives to fast-growing states and stressed on transfer of various subjects from the Centre to the states, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu hit the bull’s eye in listing out the problems being faced by the state post bifurcation.

Naidu made it clear that the spirit of ‘Team India’ would become reality only if there was cooperative federal spirit. He opined that at present Modi government was not practicing it. Referring to the manner in which the Centre had gone back on the promises it had made during the time of bifurcation of the state, Naidu wanted the Centre to explain why it failed to keep up its promise of hand holding. He also highlighted how the people of the state were facing hardships due to denial of the same.

Interestingly, Naidu’s argument on various issues including special status got support even from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is an ally in NDA. Mamata Banerjee supported Naidu’s demand that changes be made in the terms of reference of 15th Finance Commission and recommendations be made to help the farmers.

Among others who extended support to Naidu’s views on many issues were CMs of Arunachal Pradesh, Asom, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. It now remains to be seen if the non-BJP CMs will succeed in taking forward their cooperative federalism as elections appear to be just six months away.

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