Kolkata: Tearing into the Centre over the recent rationalisation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSs), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday dubbed the Narendra Modi government "dictatorial" and wondered if there was a presidential form of government in India.
Mamata called the recommendations made by the "BJP-dominated" sub-group of chief ministers on the CSS rationalisation as "unilateral" and an "attack on federalism", and said the situation under the Modi government was worse than that during Emergency.
"The Centre has sent a letter declaring that the recommendations have been implemented. Citing cooperative federalism, they are actually bulldozing the states and democracy. This is nothing but dictatorship."
"I want to know if they are running a presidential form of government in the country," a fuming Banerjee told media persons while waving a letter by the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog.
The Union Cabinet earlier this month accepted the major recommendations of the sub-group on CSS rationalisation, including limiting the total number of schemes to 30 and changing the sharing pattern between the Centre and the states.
She called the Modi government "the most arrogant" and said the Centre's Kashmir policy and diplomacy were "disasters".
"This is the most arrogant government I have ever seen. This is the reason behind Jammu Kashmir issue turning into a disaster. Their diplomacy is a disaster. Pakistan issue has become worse because of the Centre's failure.
"In the name of external affairs, you have only foreign trips."
"Modi went for a surprise visit to Pakistan on their prime minister's birthday. But only bad things happened after that," said Banerjee while referring to the January terror attack in Punjab's Pathankot city that came days after Modi's dramatic visit to Lahore in December 2015.
Continuing her attacks, she questioned why the schemes be named after leaders of the ruling party at the Centre when the states have to pay "most of the funds".
The Chief Minister said that except for finance, railways, defence and external affairs, there was no need for any other central ministry.
Banerjee said the motive behind the move was to deprive states where the BJP was not in power and expressed strong reservation over the "union government's bid to monitor the state treasury".
"They have formed a public financial management system whose purpose is to the track the expenditure made by the states. Why do they want to monitor the state treasury? From media to education, the Centre is trying to control everything. They are trying to take control of an elected government," she said.
Banerjee, who is the Trinamool Congress supremo, said President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention would be sought against the Centre's arbitrary action.
"Modi is running a dictatorship; the country's people have lost their independence under him. This is a dangerous red signal to stop democracy. The situation is worse than Emergency.
"We will seek the President's intervention against the Centre's continuous attacks on democracy and federalism. If the Centre does not correct its course, we will be forced to hit the streets," added Banerjee.