New Delhi: Congress chief ministers on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not living up to his avowed claim of cooperative federalism and instead centralising power.
They said “denial” of special category status to northeastern and hilly states will create problems for their residents.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said that northeastern states were lagging in development and suffered from poor road connectivity and communications.
“If the government of India will not help in infrastructure and social security, it will lead to a lot of damage. We submitted a memoranudm to prime minister two months back about the need for central assistance,” he told reporters here.
He said an appointment had also been sought with Modi but it had not materialised.
“It is difficult to meet (him)… How will federalism be strengthened if discussion is not held with chief ministers,” he said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that land boundary agreement, which also affects his state, was not discussed with him.
He said that when Modi went to China, the issue of stapled visa was not discussed with the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister.
“He did not discuss infiltration issue,” Gogoi said, referring to Modi’s visit to Bangladesh.
“It is not cooperative federalism but more about centralisation of power,” he said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that though the Modi government had increased devolution of taxes to states in accordance with recommendations of 14th Finance Commission but was also reducing grants of centrally-sponsored schemes, thus neutralised the gains made in revenue.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that the northeast had several “microscopic (ethnic) groups” and it was constitutional obligation of state to provide them social justice.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said that withdrawal of the funding pattern of 90 percent central grant and 10 percent loan for special category states has “created trouble”.
Apart from the eight northeastern states, the hill states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir also had special status.
The meeting of Congress chief ministers was the first since Congress lost the last Lok Sabha elections. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had started conclave of chief ministers when the party was in the Opposition in the first NDA government.