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‘BJP destroying federal structure’ — TMC slams Centre-state issue exclusion from home panel talks

Sources in Trinamool Congress claimed subject was dropped though last parliamentary standing committee on home affairs deemed it was important & it was to have been taken up for discussion,

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New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress Thursday criticised the non-inclusion of Centre-state relations in the list of topics that will be taken up for discussion throughout the year in meetings of the Parliamentary standing committee of home affairs. Party sources claimed the subject was dropped even though in the last standing committee (which has now been disbanded) the matter was deemed very important and was to have been taken up.

Standing committee chairman and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of parliament (MP) Brijlal, however, told ThePrint that no such decision had ever been taken in the last committee.

People in the know told ThePrint that a Trinamool Congress MP had also written to the standing committee chairman asking for the inclusion of the issue, but it was turned down.

According to a Rajya Sabha bulletin published on 21 October, the five issues that will be discussed in the standing committee meetings during 2022-23 include prisons — conditions, infrastructure and reforms — border management, disaster management, functioning of Union Territories, implementation of centrally sponsored schemes and projects in north-eastern states and challenges to internal security and India’s preparedness.

“One day at a time BJP is destroying the federal structure of this nation. They have no respect for state relations with the Union. That’s why they are afraid to even discuss this subject in a parliamentary committee. Now the cat is out of the bag,” Trinamool Congress Parliamentary Party leader (Rajya Sabha) Derek O’Brien told ThePrint.

Center-state relations have been a thorny issue through the tenure of the NDA government, with many parties that are in power in various states, including the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Congress pressing for a discussion on it.

“In the 13th meeting of the last standing committee, held on 1 August, the subject of Center-state relations was deemed as very important, one that deals with sensitive issues, and therefore entails a detailed discussion by the committee. It was decided that it would be taken up once the committee completes the then ongoing discussion on prison reforms,” said a person in the know.

The current standing committee was constituted in October.

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‘Not right to discuss committee meetings’

Brijlal, however, denied that any decision had been taken in earlier meetings on a discussion on the subject of Centre-state relations.

“The first thing is that it is not right to share the proceedings of standing committee meetings outside. Also, I was a member of that standing committee too, but there was never any decision to the effect that it would be discussed. We have decided on five topics of discussion for the current year that I am not going to share with you. We will be working on these five topics throughout the year.”

Brijlal succeeded Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi as the chairman of the standing committee when the committees were reconstituted for the current year. Parliamentary standing committees are constituted for a period of one year with new ones usually coming into being around September every year.

The demand for a discussion on the issue of Centre-state relations, was also raised in the meeting of the committee Thursday by the Trinamool Congress and was supported by parties such as the BJD and Janata Dal (United), claimed informed individuals.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

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