Chief Ministers of non-BJP-ruled States made a pitch for reducing central interference and providing the States greater autonomy at the Inter-State Council meet here on Saturday.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar led the charge by suggesting that the office of Governor be abolished or made much more transparent in its functioning.
“Existing federal democratic structure does not warrant continuance of the gubernatorial post. However, if it is not possible to do away with it, then our opinion is that provisions relating to the appointment of Governor must be clearly defined and made transparent,” Mr. Kumar said.
“Besides, the Chief Minister of the state should also be consulted... in the Governor’s appointment. The propensity to change the Governor whenever a new Government is formed must be curbed by making constitutional provisions. The Chief Minister must be formally consulted before removal of incumbent Governor and, if required, Article 155 of the Constitution may be amended to provide for such consultation.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal suggested that the Council pass a resolution that President’s Rule should not be imposed in any State unless the government fails to prove its majority on the floor of the assembly.
The sharp comments come close on the heels of the Supreme Court ordering restoration of the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh after pronouncing the Governor's decisions leading to the state government's fall recently as violative of the constitution. The apex court had also ordered a fresh floor test in Uttarakhand leading to the lifting of President's rule and restoration of the State government.
Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara said there should be a time-limit within which the President should offer his assent or withhold it — or consult the Supreme Court on the proposed state law's constitutionality — if the Governor refers a Bill to him.
CPI(M)-ruled Tripura’s Chief Minister Manik Sarkar also demanded more autonomy for States.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on her part questioned some of the Centre’s measures for development, while complaining that the States were not consulted on the agenda of the meet.
She wondered how direct benefits transfer would be successful without banks and post offices, adding that the government should remember before making the Aadhar number compulsory that “in our place there is no bank in 800 Panchayats”.
The BJP chief ministers from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh laid stress on the need to “de-radicalise” youth to counter the threat of militancy.
Calling for better intelligence sharing, Mr. Singh and Mr. Chouhan stressed on the need to operationalise the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid).
Mr. Chouhan stressed on the need to check the misuse of social media and adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to check radicalisation.
Mr. Chouhan suggested board examinations at Class V and VIII levels, adding that MP has forwarded its suggestions to the HRD Ministry. Before this, he expressed his reservations with the no-detention policy under which no child is detained in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.
He also suggested setting up of “Institutes for Nurturing Gifted and Talented Children” to help children with exceptional abilities in honing their skills.
Mr. Kumar called for a complete ban on selling and consuming liquor across India, also invoking the constitutional mention of this in the Directive Principles.