AAP National Convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alongside Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, led a protest at Jantar Mantar today, highlighting the need to safeguard India's federal structure. The event, convened by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, saw a strong presence of Kerala MPs, MLAs, and leaders from various opposition parties.
Addressing the gathering, CM Arvind Kejriwal emphasized the inherent link between federalism, democracy, and the Constitution, warning of the threat posed by the central government's alleged encroachment on states' autonomy. He criticized the trend of opposition governments facing alleged hurdles orchestrated by the Centre, drawing comparisons to an "India-Pakistan" dynamic.
Outlining the challenges faced by opposition-led states, CM Arvind Kejriwal identified three key tactics allegedly employed by the Centre: withholding rightful funds earmarked for states, undue interference through Governors and Lieutenant Governors, and using probe agencies to target opposition leaders.
CM Arvind Kejriwal highlighted the financial pressure allegedly imposed by the Centre, citing examples of Kerala and Punjab facing withheld funds amounting to billions. He underscored the crucial role of these funds in state development and welfare initiatives.
Furthermore, he condemned the alleged undue interference by Governors and Lieutenant Governors in state affairs, ignoring the constitutional delineation of powers. Kejriwal cited instances of alleged arbitrary actions, including the obstruction of Punjab's budget session, necessitating judicial intervention.
The Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also criticized the alleged misuse of probe agencies, citing the detention of Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren as an example of a pattern aimed at weakening opposition governments.
In a separate address, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann echoed Kejriwal's concerns, lamenting the central government's alleged obstruction towards Punjab's rightful entitlements. Mann highlighted the impact of withheld funds on Punjab's agricultural sector, urging their release to facilitate state development.
CM Bhagwant Mann further emphasized the alleged disparity in treatment meted out to Punjab compared to other states, citing instances of discriminatory practices hindering Punjab's progress.
In conclusion, both CMs Kejriwal and Mann stressed the importance of collective action to protect the nation's federal fabric, warning against the erosion of democratic principles and emphasizing the need for concerted efforts to uphold constitutional values.