Holding that chief ministers were given “very little” opportunity to express their views during “ritualistic” conferences chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has decided to skip the conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security in the national capital tomorrow. The conference in Delhi will be chaired by the Prime Minister. Observing that the Conference of Chief Ministers on Internal Security was a very important function concerning the maintenance of public order,Jayalalithaa in a letter to Singh,said such conferences held by the Centre have become an “annual ritualistic exercise and very little opportunity was given to Chief Ministers to express their views”.
“This Conference too,carries a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects. Uttering just their titles would in itself take 10 minutes which,unfortunately,is the time being cavalierly allotted to the Chief Ministers to present their views”,she said in the letter.
Chief Ministers are equal partners with the Union Government in “governance” and are expected to make meaningful contributions to the discussions,so that “the Centre is made aware of the true situation on the ground”,she noted.
“The Conferences with Chief Ministers on important issues have been reduced to a routinised ritual,rather than a consultative process,with the Chief Ministers constantly guillotined to cut short their speeches,” she said.
She said the current conference too was aimed at “assembling the Chief Ministers of states to rubber stamp some measures pre-decided by the (Union) Government without adequately considering the views of the States.” She recalled her past experience at the National Development Council meeting held in December 2012 where she was forced to cut short her speech.
“Rather than attending a conference where Chief Ministers are being rail-roaded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table,I am deputing K P Munusamy,Minister for Municipal Administration,the Home Secretary (Sheila Balakrishnan) and the Director General of Police(K Ramanujam) to attend the Conference on my behalf”. Jayalalithaa said the Minister will deliver her speech.