K Chandrasekhar Rao and Edappadi Palaniswami are two chief ministers who have been extremely supportive of the Centre’s decisions on the lockdown. If that was seen by New Delhi as the right response to a national crisis, their scathing criticism of aspects of the financial package ought to be respected as well.
Accusing the Centre of bringing the states to the level of beggars, KCR dismissed the package as a “hogwash” “bogus” and “jugglery of numbers”. While KCR chose to attack in public at his press conference, Palaniswami in keeping with his position as an NDA ally, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the Centre for putting forth “needlessly onerous” conditions for increasing the borrowing limit of the states.
“The Centre has the habit of dealing with the states with a condescending air,” said KCR. “The Centre has treated the states as if they are its minions, as if they are beggars. Is this cooperative federalism? They are also elected by the people. In fact, they have more responsibility than the Centre as they deal directly with the people.”
One of the riders for increasing the borrowing limit by states was to discontinue free power to farmers and instead undertake direct benefit transfer. Palaniswami has asked the PM to let the states decide on how they wish to disburse the subsidy for free power. KCR has gone a step ahead and refused to implement the reforms suggested by the Finance minister with regard to power reforms.
“We will forego the Rs 2500 crore that we will get if we agree to it,” said KCR.