States not consulted on appointment of Governors, Chief Justices

A full-scale attack on the United Progressive Alliance government marked the concluding day of the BJP's two-day national executive committee meeting here on Sunday. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi alleged that the Union government was trying to pauperise the BJP-ruled State governments.

Two resolutions passed on Sunday and one on Saturday targeted the UPA. They said the Centre was not consulting the States in appointment of Governors or chief justices of high courts; it had burdened the State governments with the Sixth Pay Commission and now the Right to Education was thrust upon them.

The intent of these decisions was “to pauperise the BJP State governments,” a resolution on Sunday said. Its key speaker was Mr. Modi,

Although Bihar Assembly elections are a few months away, the tone and tenor of the resolution was as if a Lok Sabha election was around the corner. The focus was on the Centre and the Congress. A serious charge made by the BJP was that the Centre was violating the federal structure of the Constitution by “surreptitiously seizing powers vested with the States and concentrating them in the hands of the government in Delhi.”

Mr. Modi described this as “step-motherly treatment of non-UPA State governments.” While the National Democratic Alliance government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee strengthened the States, the UPA was diluting their powers, he said.

He complained about the GUJCOC Bill (law to deal with organised crime) not the Centre's nod despite being passed several times by the State Assembly. There was no consultation with the States on the Right to Education Bill, though they would have to implement it and needed resources for this, he said. He alleged that the National Investigation Agency had become “ineffective.”

The BJP also complained of “financial harassment” by the Centre. It mentioned about the “arbitrary” suspension of work on the Maheshwar power project in Madhya Pradesh and the cutting of the rice quota for Chhattisgarh to disable the Rs. 2 a kg successful rice scheme for the poor.

Many other complaints such as provision of “paltry” relief for Bihar during the Kosi floods, less money for security upgrade of Bangalore as compared to Hyderabad or Chennai and non extension of industrial promotion packages for Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, both ruled by the BJP, formed part of the resolution, .

The other resolution on Sunday described the first year of UPA II as a year of disappointment and non-achievement. It said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not able to tackle inflation within 100 days as promised. An estimate of those below the poverty line was yet to be made and without that there could be no food security, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was more involved with the IPL (Indian Premier League) than with the BPL (below poverty line) population and those who questioned corruption in allotment of 2G spectrum were told to read what Minister A. Raja said in his own defence, the BJP said.

On the Bhopal gas tragedy, the BJP said the Congress was always more concerned about allowing the accused to escape, than worrying about the victims. Both Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi and the former Union Carbide chief, Warren Anderson, were allowed to escape, it alleged.

At a public rally at the end of the day, one slogan that resounded was: “bring back this government, take Bihar forward – and out of the list of Bimaru States.”

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