Sonia exhorts Cong CMs to confront Centre

Sonia exhorts Cong CMs to confront Centre

Sonia exhorts Cong CMs to confront Centre

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday marshalled chief ministers of party-ruled states to jointly oppose Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to “dismantle the edifice of the welfare state” built over the decades by successive Congress governments.

At a day-long conference of chief ministers, she accused Modi of engineering “unprecedented centralisation of power” and exhorted them to “confront” the Centre and “engage in agitations” against it when it works against public interest.

Making a joint appearance before the media, Sonia and Rahul attacked the Modi government for slashing budgetary allocations for social-sector initiative and scrapping the special-category status granted to 11 states.

“Our chief ministers have told us the Modi government is ignoring farmers. The special-category status taken away from the North-east is troubling our chief ministers,” Sonia told reporters.

She also asked the chief ministers to meet the prime minister is groups to point out the problems faced by their governments due to Central policies.

“There was a unanimous view that the past one year of the present government is a disaster,” said senior Congress leader A K Antony at a briefing after the meeting.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state government would lose Rs 1,987 crore on account of reduction of Central grants, and refuted the Centre's claims of states benefiting due to the 10 per cent additional devolution of funds by the Centre.

He said the Karnataka government would have to bear an additional burden of Rs 4,689 crore to implement Centrally sponsored schemes the states have been asked to implement.

The Congress questioned Modi’s commitment to his oft-touted concept of cooperative federalism. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said chief ministers of the North-Eastern states have sought an appointment with Modi to press for restoration of the special-category status, but have been unable to meet him.

“The prime minister speaks to senior officials directly, bypassing elected leaders,” said Tuki. His views were echoed by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who accused Modi of violating the very concept of “cooperative federalism”.

An aggressive Sonia also accused the Centre of engaging in a “dangerous duplicitous game”, deliberately creating an atmosphere of “fear and foreboding”.

“On one hand, the prime minister wants to project himself as the great champion of good governance and Constitutional values, while on the other he allows many of his colleagues to make vile statements and foment communal polarisation,” she said.

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