NEW DELHI, India: The non-Congress (I) Chief Ministers’ meeting agreed to have a joint front of the likeminded parties at the national level based on a common programme. The Chief Ministers’ further agreed to meet more often to exchange views to arrive at a consensus on matters of national importance. It was also agreed that the basic issues before the parties were not simply an electoral alliance but their agreeing to a common social programme to safeguard the interests of the people. The meeting was attended by Jyoti Basu, West Bengal, N.T. Rama Rao Andbra, RK. Hegde, Karnataka, Surjit S. Barnala, Punjab, EK. Kerala, Tribhavan Chakarvarti, Tripura. The Punjab Finance Minister Balwant Singh and Finance Minister of W. Bengal A.Das Gupta and leader of Assam Gantantra Parishad party Suresh Goswami attended as observers.

The Chief Minister of Assam Prafulla Mohanta could notattend the meeting. The meeting discussed the current political and economic situation in the country and stressed on the need for restructuring interstate relations.

The Chief Ministers at the conference decided to discuss at the party level certain politic! Matters including the presidential elections. It was decided to hold meetings of non-Congress (I) political parties at Bangalore in June. It will be preceded by a meeting of likeminded political parties in May at Delhi which will be convened by N. T. Rama Rao. In a press note issued after the conclusion, Chief Ministers expressed concern over the recent disclosures of illegal accumulation of wealth abroad and those relating to defense items. The Chief Ministers felt that the only way to resolve this problem was to take Parliament members into confidence and hold a through enquiry into the issues. The meeting took note of the disillusionment of the common man with the economic policies of the central government.

The problems of inequality, unemployment and inflation have become more acute over the years. Land reforms have been ignored. The purchasing power of the common man got eroded by the continuing inflation. The Center’s policy of deficit financing and the decision to increase the prices of petroleum products had skyrocketed inflation.

Demanding reorganizing of Center state relations the Chief Ministers wanted decentralization of power and involvement of the people in the administration. They said after the Sarkaria Commission has submitted its report, there should be an interaction among the affected states and national political parties What was disgusting was while the Sarkaria Commission was still on the job, certain unilateral decisions were taken by the Centre to further centralize resources. There was increase in the prices of essential commodities and instead of adjusting excise duties the proceeds of which were to be shared by states, Centre has monopolized them.

Article extracted from this publication >>  May 1, 1987