The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi no less than 30 official letters during her visit to Delhi on Wednesday. The subject of these letters is the ‘undermining of federalism’ and an expression of the state government’s feeling of being shortchanged by the Centre.
Mamata Banerjee met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and other leaders from different parties. She wanted to form a ‘federal front’. In the future, she is looking to host a ‘tea party’ with members from different states to discuss the same.
Different regional leaders, would be interested in the issues she was addressing, said officials.
According to the report by The Indian Express, she wished to formulate a plan to restructure debt, lest the states would become debt ridden.
The Centre-state relationship is a mutual, reciprocal one, based on cooperation. Decisions can’t be imposed unilaterally. The Centre should build consensus through dialogue. Democracy is based on dialogue. What the Centre is doing now is not democracy. Rather, it is unilateral autocracy.Mamata Banerjee to The Indian Express
Modi addressed all issues Banerjee had, pertaining to decentralisation, including those on education policy and developmental initiatives.
An issue raised by her was the delay in the disbursal of funds by the Centre. She addressed her demand for Rs 21,000 crore for flood relief work, and asked why she was given only a fraction of that amount.
The money came months after the actual flood and that, too, while elections were ongoing because of which it couldn’t be put to use immediately. As a result, governance in the state suffered. Why should there be such discrepancy? When Tamil Nadu had floods, they received the assistance within days.
Another issue addressed in the letters was the appointment of the chairman of the Calcutta Port Trust and the chairman of the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), which involves West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. Mamata Banerjee claimed this was a ‘weakening of the federal structure’, as West Bengal was never even consulted.
Source: The Indian Express