Kerala cancels Delhi protest plan, opts Constitution protection conference instead

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: Manorama

New Delhi: The Kerala government dropped the 'people's resistance' event, which was scheduled to be held in New Delhi on February 8 under the leadership of CM Pinarayi Vijayan against the central government's neglect of the state.
Instead, the State government will organize a public meeting on February 8 with the theme of 'protecting the federal system of the Constitution.'

Government sources state that the decision to hold only the 'Constitution protection conference' aims to avoid the impression that Kerala has conflicts with the Centre. The change is attributed to the influence of recent high-level meetings held in Kerala. However, CPM sources said that the programme’s nature was altered based on the assessment that discussing only Kerala's issues would not garner support from other states.

On January 17, Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener EP Jayarajan announced a protest programme by the Chief Minister and Ministers against the centre's neglect of Kerala. The office of Industries Minister P Rajeev had also stated that Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin was invited to participate in the event.

However, the CM's letter sent to various Opposition leaders clarifies that the intention is only to hold a public meeting advocating the protection of the Constitution. At the end of the letter, there is a reference to financial freedom as enshrined in the Constitution.

Excerpts from the Chief Minister's letter:
"There have been several regressive administrative and policy measures by the Central government over the last decade, seriously endangering the federal system of the Constitution. Many of these are intended to upset the Central-State balance of power that its architects carefully weaved into the Constitution.

“The constitutional system that has successfully integrated the Centre and the States into India's federal structure over the last 8 decades, is facing a serious challenge. Considering the seriousness of these issues, Kerala is organizing a public conference at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on the theme of ‘Indian Democracy at the Crossroads: Preserving the Federal System of the Constitution.’ The event aims to highlight these grave concerns nationally and emphasize the need to uphold the Constitution's basic principles."

Invitations to Opposition Chief Ministers, Kharge
Apart from MK Stalin, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar, Naveen Patnaik, Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann, NCP president Sharad Pawar, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and senior lawyer Kapil Sibal have been invited by the Chief Minister.

Borrowing limit: Supreme Court to take up Kerala's case today
The Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justices Suryakant and KV Viswanathan will on Thursday consider the plea filed by the State government against the Central government's decision to reduce Kerala's borrowing limit. On January 12, a notice was sent to the Centre on the petition, but there has been no response. On Thursday, Kerala will plead in the court for a stay on the two Central orders cutting the State’s borrowing limit.

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