The rechristening of the Planning Commission by the NDA government on Thursday met with the expected opposition from the Congress.
The party said “anti-Nehruvianism” and “anti-Congressism” were behind the government’s decision to rename the Planning Commission as “Niti Aayog”.
The party’s chief ministers have already objected to replacing the Planning Commission at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.
“Mere change of name from Yojana Aayog to Niti is not objectionable if it is coupled with real reform. Otherwise, it will be purely cosmetic like earlier naming ceremonies,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said. He said the Congress would have supported constructive reform of the Planning Commission.
But the “alteration of identity and basic structure”, he said, is being done because of anti-Nehruvianism and anti-Congressism.”
Former union minister Manish Tewari too hit out at the government. “It is not a question of fighting a war. It is a matter of principle. The opposition BJP used to go to extra lengths talking about federalism and how the sanctity of federalism has to be maintained. And now they are going exactly the reverse way,” he said.
“If the government wants to greet people with fluff and not substance on the first day of 2015, then there is nothing more that can be said. If the North Block or the Finance Ministry have a very short-term view of both fiscal and monetary objective (and) is going to be the final arbiter between the states and the Centre… It being the stake holder in the process, I am afraid, is going to discriminate against the states,” he said.