Nine leaders from eight national parties, including Chief Ministers K. Chandrasekhar Rao (Telangana), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), and Bhagwant Singh Mann (Punjab), have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the government of ‘misusing of Central agencies and office of Governor to settle scores with Opposition parties outside the electoral battlefield’.
The other signatories to the letter were Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party. Congress is not a signatory to the letter.
The letter alleged that “the manner in which the Central agencies were used since 2014 had tarnished their image and raised questions about their autonomy and impartiality. The faith of the people of India in these agencies continued to erode”.
“The recent arrest of former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia by the CBI smacked of a political conspiracy as he was recognised globally for transforming the capital’s school education. The maximum number of key politicians booked, arrested, raided or interrogated by the investigating agencies under Mr. Modi’s administration belonged to the Opposition,” they wrote in the letter.
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“Interestingly, these agencies went slow on cases against Opposition politicians who joined the BJP. For instance, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who was under CBI and ED scanner in Saradha chit fund scam. Similarly, Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy of Trinamool Congress were targeted by CBI and ED in Narada sting operation but the cases did not progress after they joined the BJP,” the letter further said.
“The Central agencies often sparked suspicion that they were working as extended wings of ruling dispensation at the Centre going by the action taken by the agencies against Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena), Azam Khan (Samajwadi Party), Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh (Nationalist Congress Party), and Abhishek Banerjee (Trinamool Congress). In many such cases, the timing of the cases lodged or arrest made coincided with elections making it abundantly clear that they were politically motivated,“ the letter added.
It further added, “Also, the offices of the Governors across the country were acting in violation of the constitutional provisions and frequently hindering the governance of States. They were wilfully undermining democratically elected State governments and choosing instead to obstruct governance as per their whims and fancies. Be it the Governors of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Telangana, or the Lt Governor of Delhi, they became the face of the widening rift between Centre and non-BJP ruled States.”