Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan accused the BJP-led government in the Center on Saturday of destroying India’s federal system.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Centre-station relations’, held as part of the ongoing CPI(M) congress here, they alleged that unity in diversity is the culture of the nation, but the Hindutva forces want to end this and convert India into a unitary state.
Highlighting several instances where the Center failed to respond to Kerala’s demands, Vijayan said, “What is most important is to democratize the relationship between the Center and the states. Instead of strengthening the federal system, the Union government thwarts megaprojects; NITI Aayog deals directly with local self-governing bodies, keeping the state government in the dark.
Under the guise of developing backward neighborhoods, the Center directly funds projects and monitors them, Vijayan said. “The Center is not prepared to seek the advice of the state when entering into agreements, which would have far-reaching consequences in a state,” he said.
Not sparing Congress, the main opposition to the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala, Vijayan said, “Congress does not help the state to get a fair share of the Centre’s projects and funds. The Congress led UDF has 18 MPs in Lok Sabha, (but) we haven’t seen those MPs come in for Kerala.
Referring to Thursday’s statement by Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah that people from different states should speak in Hindi and not English, Vijayan said an attempt to impose Hindi would not be allowed. “The Sangh Parivar believes that if different languages are destroyed, the diversity of the nation can be eliminated. Our democracy involves various cultures and languages. The Constitution has given due importance to the different languages. Any attempt to impose Hindi would eliminate local languages and cultures,” he said.
Indirectly slamming the BJP-led NDA, Stalin said efforts were underway to eliminate diversity in the country. Stating that unity in diversity is the culture of India, the DMK leader said, “If India is to be protected, states must first be guarded. The nation can only be saved if the states are protected.
Stalin said that the architects of the Constitution did not envision a unitary structure of power but represented the division of powers, as evidenced by features such as the State, the Center and the concurrent lists. The Panchayati Raj law conferred rights on local bodies, he said, and stressed that states and the nation will only experience development if villages develop.
He said Kerala and Tamil Nadu, CPI(M) and DMK, have every right to talk about the Centre’s relations with the state. “An elected communist government in Kerala was removed from office by the Center in 1959. In Tamil Nadu, DMK governments were removed from office twice in the same manner, first in 1976 and then in 1991, using this constitutional provision,” he said.