A day after the big verdict against national parties, chief ministers from states ruled by regional parties began showing their teeth.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was the first to issue a warning. "The message given to the Congress party through this election is absolutely clear. The message is, they should respect the federal structure of the country," he told media in Patna. "They were given the same message in Bihar, too. By taking credit for every development project, by saying 'we are doing this, the central government’s money is involved… all this talk hurts the feelings of people in different states.”
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah could not resist equating the results with the quake in Delhi a day earlier. Abdullah, whose National Conference rules the state in alliance with the Congress, tweeted: “Clearly, the aftershocks of yesterday's tremor have only gotten worse in Delhi Elections2012.”
Adding, in another tweet: “The Congress may not be happy but, clearly, the BJP has nothing to celebrate either #Elections2012.”
Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa went a step further, telling the Centre off on an issue in the latter’s domain. She asked the Union government to stop sending to Tamil Nadu visitors from Sri Lanka and, if it had to, to first ask the state government. She chose to release two letters she’d written to the Prime Minister, in September 2011 and February 2012, conveying her government’s irritation at Lankan visitors being permitted to roam freely in Tamil Nadu. She referred to the visit of Thirukumaran Nadesan, brother-in-law of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to Rameswaram on January 9 and 10, and an attempted attack on him. “As there was no information to this government, either from the Sri Lankan government or from the government of India, no precautionary security measures could be taken,” the letter said.
Adding: “In view of the prevailing situation, it would be appropriate that the government of Tamil Nadu is given prior intimation about the visits of Sri Lankan dignitaries and it would also be appreciated if the government of India discourages such frequent visits to Tamil Nadu and allows such visits only after consulting the government of Tamil Nadu in future.”
She also referred to a letter from the deputy high commissioner for Sri Lanka in southern India, addressed to her governmet’s chief secretary, and a letter on the subject from an external affairs ministry’s joint secretary. “The tone and tenor of the letters is unwarranted, unacceptable and totally unjustified,” she said.
Orissa CM and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik arrived here on a five-day visit, during which he is to meet several Union ministers and other leaders. Among others, he will meet health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and food and public distribution minister K V Thomas on issues related to free health facilties for the poor and the Food Security Bill.
It is clear that unless the central government takes concerns of all state governments on board, it will face obstruction in not just implementing decisions but also in Parliament.