Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday hit out at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and alleged that the saffron party was “using Governors to impose its political interests in states.” “BJP’s attitude is to use Governors for its purpose and what happened in Goa and Manipur is the best example for it,” he said while inaugurating a seminar on ‘Centre-State relations’ in Thiruvananthapuram.
Referring to the formation of BJP-led governments in Goa and Manipur, Vijayan said Governors of these states did not even invite the party (Congress), which got a majority in the polls, and instead handed over power to a party (BJP) which came second.
“It was an undemocratic move and not in tune with the spirit of Constitution. Centre-state relations have become very bad under the BJP government. The position taken by the Centre, especially towards the non-BJP-led state governments, has even led to tension between the Centre and states on certain issues,” he said.
Recalling his meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Vijayan said the Centre has not even recognised him (Kejriwal) as the Chief Minister. “Some Central leaders have come out openly stating that he had only the role of an advisor,” Vijayan said.
He alleged that the Centre was implementing the RSS’s policies that challenge the federal system and were taking steps to “centralise powers while talking about decentralisation.” Alleging that the Centre was making the states weak, the Left leader said the most anti-democratic step was the unilateral dissolution of the Planning Commission.
“Another unilateral step was the cutting down of the state’s share of resources to 60-40 from 80:20,” he said. Vijayan alleged that the agenda was to replace the federal system with “Central authority” in the country. Referring to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Kerala Chief Minister said many states have said that they have a problem with the tax regime.
Opposition leader in the state Assembly Ramesh Chennithala also said the BJP government replaced the Planning Commission with NitiAyog without consulting the states. These kind of steps will destroy federalism,” he said. CPI State Secretary Kannam Rajendran said it was very important to review Centre-state relations, especially at a time when the Centre was “showing signs of authoritarianism.”
“The Narendra Modi government does not have any regard for the basic principles of Centre-state relations,” he said. Senior journalist and Chairman of Hindu Group of publications, N Ram and well-known economist Prabhat Patnaik were among others who spoke at the event.