National

Modi centralising power, says Congress

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, flanked by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, at a conclave ofCMs of Congress-ruled States, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: V. Sudershan
Smita Gupta New Delhi: 10 June 2015 01:38 IST
Updated: 31 August 2016 12:33 IST

A combative Congress used a day-long conclave of its nine party Chief Ministers to step up its campaign against the Modi government on Tuesday. Challenging the Centre’s boast of implementing “cooperative federalism”, it accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of centralising power and riding roughshod over the States.

Last year, the party said, the BJP-led NDA government decreased Central allocations for critical social welfare programmes and ended the concept of special category status States, the last affecting seven of the 11 States ruled by the Congress.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi later said: “This government is giving with one hand, and taking away with the other” — a reference to the States getting a greater share of taxes but losing more through the “restructuring” of Central social welfare programmes.

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Hence, the Congress CMs, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said, have resolved to make good the shortfall in spending in five key areas in their States — health, education, agriculture, women and child development, drinking water and cleanliness.

In a hard-hitting opening speech, Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged the CMs to resort to agitations when the Centre worked against the public interest — even while working with it to serve the interest of their States.

Indeed, Ms. Gandhi asked the north-eastern Chief Ministers to once again seek a meeting with the Prime Minister to urge him to work with them on matters of internal security, foreign policy and on tackling problems arising out of porous international borders.

Simultaneously, she told them that they must demand that the Centre revive the North East Industrial and Investment Policy of 2007 that it had unilaterally scrapped in December 2014 – this finds mention in the resolution the conclave passed.

The PM was systematically dismantling the welfare state, she charged.

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