Pinarayi Protests In Delhi

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann join Kerala CM at Jantar Mantar to protest against the central government’s discrimination towards Kerala…reports Asian Lite News

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala staged a protest in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Thursday against the central government’s alleged discrimination towards Kerala.

The protest was led by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and saw participation of Ministers, legislators, and parliamentarians from the State.

The legislators were seen raising slogans against the central government and holding banner that read “Fight to protect Federalism”.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann also joined the protest at Jantar Mantar.

DMK Minister P Thiaga Rajan represented his party in the protest after Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin endorsed the protests led by his Kerala counterpart.

Addressing the protestors at Jantar Mantar, CM Vijayan asserted that the fight will strive to maintain balance in Centre-State relations.

“Today, we are at a historical juncture of the Indian republic. A democracy that was envisaged as a ‘Union of States’ is slowly and steadily being crippled into an undemocratic ‘Union over States’. We are seeing its manifestations around the country, especially in opposition-ruled states,” Vijayan said.

“We have all come together to register our strong protest against this and to preserve the federal structure of India. Today we are marking the beginning of a renewed fight that would herald a dawn of ensuring equitable treatment of the States. This fight would also strive to maintain a balance in the Centre-State relations. Thus, February 8, 2024, is going to be a red letter day in the history of the Republic of India,” he added.

He also thanked the state governments and opposition political parties whose representatives have joined the LDF-led protest today.

“At the outset, let me extend a warm welcome and convey greetings to all those who have gathered here representing various State Governments and opposition political parties. The fight to ensure that India remains a sovereign secular democratic republic, with federalism as its hallmark, will be a long-drawn one. Let this be an opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to this struggle,” the Kerala Chief Minister said.

Speaking on the protest, LDF convenor EP Jayarajan said that they are raising people’s demands through the mega agitation.

“We are raising the people’s demands. Yesterday it was Karnataka, today it is Kerala, tomorrow other states will also come,” Jayarajan said.

Kerala Minister Kadannappalli Ramachandran said, “Due to the central government’s activities, they are not in favour of keeping up the constitution. We wanted to get some help as far as the constitution is concerned, but they refused.”

Union Minister V Muraleedharan slammed the Kerala government over the protests and accused it of ‘conveniently’ blaming the central government in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

“The Lok Sabha elections are approaching. The present government in Kerala has been there in power for the last 8 years. They had made tall promises when they fought the elections in 2016-2021 but now they have realised that they have nothing to say about their achievements. So, they want to blame somebody else and they have found a convenient way of blaming the Government of India,” Muraleedharan said.

Speaking on the protest, Kerala MLA K K Shailaja said, “Without getting proper tax share and funds from Central government, the state cannot sustain. They are not allowing us to borrow money also. Central govt is implementing some rules, especially for Kerala lowering the borrowing limit.”

“Karnataka CM yesterday expressed his solidarity with us,” she added.

Besides issues like sidelining Kerala in the financial sector and when it comes to Centrally-sponsored schemes, Vijayan said another important point that is being raised is with regard to Governors.

“We are seeing how Governors should not function. They are sidelining the state legislatures. The (Kerala) Governor (Arif Mohammed Khan), who has turned the state into a stage for his theatrics, withholds bills approved by the Assembly and misuses his chancellorship to disrupt the functioning of universities.

“These actions pose a direct challenge to constitutional values. These actions are necessitating legal actions and people’s protests to safeguard federalism and democracy. Indian constitutional values have never before encountered such serious challenges except during Emergency,” Vijayan said.

He also said that a strong Centre alongside empowered states is crucial for upholding India’s unity and integrity.

“Kerala’s gathering in Delhi marks a significant stride towards this overarching objective. In this regard, we earnestly seek the wholehearted support of all the advocates of democracy,” said Vijayan.

On Wednesday, Karnataka Congress veteran and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, accompanied by his deputy DK Shivakumar and other state ministers staged a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar over the alleged injustice to southern states in devolution of taxes.

MK Stalin had, on Tuesday (February 6), written a letter to Pinarayi Vijayan stating that he extends full support towards Kerala government’s legal measures against the central government for allegedly releasing the funds allocated to the state. In the letter, he also said that DMK would take part in the agitation and the party leaders would be wearing black clothes.

“Our voice will not rest until we establish cooperative federalism and retrieve state autonomy,” the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said.

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