NIKHIL M GHANEKAR, AMRITA NAYAK DUTTA, DNA, 17 Jul 2016: The political developments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand where Congress governments were restored case a shadow on the first inter-state council meeting since 2006 chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Chief Ministers of Bihar and Delhi, Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal were vocal about their displeasure regarding Centre’s interference in the affairs of the state governments and share their views during the meet. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was miffed about what she termed a “pre-fixed agenda” for the meeting.
Two months back, the SC restored the Harish Rawat led Congress government in Uttarakhand, ending President’s rule. Earlier this week, while restoring the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh the SC termed Governor JP Rajkhowa’s dismissal of former chief minister Nabam Tuki’s government as “unconstitutional”. In fact, as the meeting was underway, Pema Khandu staked claim to form the next government of Congress in Arunachal Pradesh.
In this backdrop, Nitish Kumar said during his speech in the meeting that “in the existing federal democratic structure of the country, the gubernatorial post of a Governor was not warranted.” He added that if that is not possible, “provisions relating to the appointment of Governor must be clearly defined and made transparent and the Chief Minister of the state should also be consulted.”
Kumar said that “only if it is established that a state government is not performing its ‘Raj Dharma’, then in the rarest of rare circumstances, the Central Government may interfere under existing provisions of the constitution.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, echoed some of the views shared by Nitish Kumar. Arvind Kejriwal, who shares a bitter relationship with the Centre, reiterated his demand to provide more power to individual states, including Delhi.
Talking to the media, Kejriwal said that post the Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand crisis, a proposal should be passed in the meet, stating that President’s rule should not be imposed in any state, unless government fails to prove majority in the assembly.
According to sources, the Delhi CM also raked up the issue of bills pending with the Centre for clearance, which has been already passed by the Delhi assembly AAP government. The Delhi CM had also given ads in national dailies highlighting his grievances with the Modi and the Centre.
Meanwhile, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that merely organising an inter-state council meeting after 10 years, with a pre-fixed agenda, barely helps the states. “We were not asked about the agenda. If states were asked, they could have given their agenda. We had many more things to say beyond the four-point agenda fixed by the Centre,” an aggressive Banerjee told the media. She added that the Centre cannot interfere in the State Government’s internal affairs over law and order problem. “Centre cannot interfere in the matters of security and law and order on the excuse of countering terrorism. It is a state subject, if there is any information related subject or border related subject, we are ready to share with you, but if it is about law and order, we are not ready,” Banerjee said.
On the Goods and Services Tax Bill, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made some specific demands regarding and the effects it will have on the revenue of Maharashtra government when it is passed. “The state of Maharashtra, which is predominantly a manufacturing state, is going to incur loss in its revenue collection. Therefore I suggest that 1% extra tax should be levied along with GST to compensate manufacturing states.” Fadnavis added that the implementation of GST may initially cost loss of revenue to the state and thus it may be reimbursed by Centre for the next 5 years.
On the issue of internal security, Fadnavis said in his speech that Maharashtra government has taken steps to deal with the threats of ISIS to counter their propaganda for de-radicalisation of youth.