New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 8 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with his cabinet and top Left members staged a protest against the Centre over ‘financial injustice’ at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Thursday.
CM Vijayan walked from Kerala House towards the protest venue accompanied by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir- Farooq Abdullah.
Speaking at the protest venue, CM Vijayan said, “We are at a historical juncture of the Indian republic. A democracy that was envisaged as a ‘Union of States’ is slowly and steadily being crippled into an undemocratic ‘Union over States’.
“We are seeing its manifestations around the country, especially in opposition ruled states. We have all come together to register our strong protest against this and to preserve the federal structure of India. Today we are marking the beginning of a renewed fight that would herald a dawn of ensuring equitable treatment of the states. This fight would also strive to maintain a balance in the Centre – State relations. Thus, the 8th of February 2024, is going to be a red letter day in the history of the Republic of India,” said Vijayan.
“At the outset, let me extend a warm welcome and convey greetings to all those who have gathered here representing various state governments and opposition political parties. The fight to ensure that India remains a sovereign secular democratic republic, with federalism as its hallmark, will be a long drawn one. Let this be an opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to this struggle,” said Vijayan.
“Over the years, the Union has been making laws that encroach upon the states’ powers and duties in several sectors, even on law and order, which is absolutely in the States List in the Constitution. Laws have been made by the Union in agriculture, education, power, cooperation and so on, crippling the States’ rights. Even a Ministry for Co-operation has been formed. Multinational agreements are being entered into, on issues that affect the States, without seeking the States’ opinion, let alone getting their consent. These are all telling examples of how the rights of States are being trampled upon and how India is being changed into an undemocratic ‘Union over States’.
“However, the blow to India’s federal structure is coming from the Union eating into the states’ financial resources. It is being alleged that the same people who wax eloquent about cooperative federalism, have tried to undercut the resources to be allocated to the states by the Finance Commission. On top of that, we are seeing the Union’s allocation for their own schemes coming down year after year, while the states are being forced to chip in more and more,” said Vijayan.
But the Congress-led Opposition in Kerala, despite being invited to take part, decided not to accept the invitation.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said there are multiple reasons why Kerala is finding it tough, but we do not subscribe to Vijayan’s statement that the only reason is the way the Centre is putting blocks to the financial requirements of Kerala.
“We do not agree to it as Vijayan and his running the government here is engulfed in corruption, nepotism and abject misgovernance. The extravagance at a time when the financial situation is poor is a reason why things here are going astray,” said Satheesan.
“The Karnataka government protest in Delhi was for different reasons and not like what Kerala is doing. Vijayan says one thing in Delhi, another thing inside the Assembly and yet another reason before the apex court,” added Satheesan.