Centre’s big-brother attitude is affecting development in Karnataka says J.C. Madhuswamy, Minor Irrigation Minister, Karnataka

Published : March 29, 2021 19:24 IST

J.C. Madhuswamy, Minister of Minor Irrigation, Karnataka. Photo: K. MURALIKUMAR

In a rare confession that is revelatory of the Central government’s stance on federalism, Karnataka Minor Irrigation Minister J.C. Madhuswamy said the “Centre’s big brother attitude” was affecting development in Karnataka. Considering that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has constantly reiterated that the Central government’s focus has always been on vikas, or development, this statement by a senior Minister of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the State has caused consternation within the saffron party’s ranks in Karnataka.

Speaking at an event in Mysuru on the topic of “National Integration and Regional Freedom” on March 27, Madhuswamy, who was recently divested of the Law Ministry, said: “Certain policies of the Central government are detrimental to the federal relationship. Decisions on subjects that are in the State’s List are gradually being encroached upon by the Central government. Rather than moving towards decentralisation, we are heading more towards centralisation.”

Madhuswamy added that the Centre’s “big-brother attitude is not in the best interests of a State government”. The Minister also gave the example of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), arguing that the introduction of this test has disadvantaged youths in States like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In an embarrassment for Tejasvi Surya, the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha MP who was in the audience, the Minister pointedly asked him to raise these issues in Parliament.

Commenting on Madhuswamy’s statement, Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition, said that the Minister’s statement “was a reflection of the anguish of the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka”. He added that the recent farm laws were proof that the Central government was ignoring the State government’s jurisdiction in making laws. “Even though the State has been deprived of its share of taxes, the 25 BJP MPs do not question this in Parliament,” Siddaramaiah said.

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