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CM finds ally in Mamata to take on combative Centre

CM finds ally in Mamata to take on combative Centre
This is a unique exercise, a fight against the authoritative Central government, initiated by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in which he has been successful in wooing Chief Ministers of the <g data-gr-id="29">non</g>-BJP ruled states.

“So far two Chief Ministers — West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her counterpart in Tripura Manik Sarkar have given consent to attend the event. Bihar Chief Minister was also expected to attend it but will not come due to the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. He will, however, send his message,” said a spokesperson of the Delhi government.

According to sources, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has also given his consent to attend the conclave while Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has reportedly expressed his inability to attend the function due to the ongoing probe of the Central Bureau of Investigation against him.

He further added that the conclave will be completely focused on the “federal structure” of the country and the roles and rights of state governments in <g data-gr-id="41">contemporary</g> political situation. 

“We are in talks with some more Chief Ministers for which confirmation is likely to be finalised by Tuesday,” he added.

Banerjee is considered as one of the chief opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as she herself had faced authoritative policies of Modi’s government in the past. 

Furthermore, BJP’s national president Amit Shah’s strategy to wrest power from Banerjee in West Bengal had further widened the gap between the two leaders.

Manik Sarkar, who is leading the country’s lone Left Front government, is in his fourth term, and is now in Delhi to attend the Politburo meeting of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).The spokesperson said Sarkar on August 24 had met Arvind Kejriwal and discussed issues related to the country’s federal structure. CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that after Kejriwal became the Chief Minister, his party had suggested him to convene a meeting of <g data-gr-id="34">non</g>-BJP Chief Ministers.

“Besides Delhi-specific issues, the leaders will also discuss Centre-state relationship in a broader spectrum,” added the spokesperson. 

The conclave was announced by Kejriwal after his demand to organise a meeting of Chief Ministers on ‘Cooperative Federalism’ was ignored by Modi in one of the meetings of CMs called by the NITI Ayog.

It’s important to mention that in his earlier visits to Delhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had extended his support to Kejriwal on the demands like roping in the <g data-gr-id="37">Anti Corruption</g> Branch (ACB) under the Delhi government, giving the latter all the rights of transfers and posting and even supported full statehood for Delhi. Both Kejriwal and Kumar had shared stages in Delhi as well. 

The issues likely to be discussed in the conclave are — full statehood for Delhi, authority over ACB, land and building, unnecessary interference of Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in the day-to-day working of the Delhi government and a demand for a conducive federal structure. 
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