Kejriwal accuses BJP of waging war against opposition-ruled states, calls for defending federalism

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday hit out at the BJP-led Centre, accusing it of waging a war against state governments led by opposition parties and warning it against arrogance.


Kejriwal took part in a protest against the Union government held at Delhi's Jantar Mantar by leaders and lawmakers of Kerala's Left Democratic Front, led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

"Opposition parties rule half of the states and represent 70 crore people in the country. The BJP has waged a war against the opposition-ruled states. The Centre is using all the tactics to harass the opposition governments," Kejriwal said at the protest.

"It is depriving them of valid funds, obstructing work through governors and LGs... unleashed central probe agencies against opposition leaders," he added.


The Delhi chief minister said opposition leaders assembled at the Jantar Mantar not to beg or ask for money for their families but to demand their rightful dues.

"I have come here to ask for the rights of two crore people. If you do not give us funds, how will we build roads, provide electricity and work for development," the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener said.

Citing Punjab's instance, he said the state government had to go to the Supreme Court for the release of rural development funds.


Governors are meddling with state subjects in opposition-ruled states and agencies like the ED are being used to frame opposition leaders, Kejriwal alleged.

"They have arrested Hemant Soren, now they can even arrest me. They can arrest anyone... to topple governments," he added.

Kejriwal also warned the BJP against arrogance, saying time keeps moving and one day, the party will have to be in the opposition as well.


"A time can come when we will be there (in power) and you will be here (in opposition) and the same laws can come to haunt you," the Delhi chief minister said.

He charged that the BJP at the Centre wanted to finish off the federal structure of the country. "This fight is for all of us to save the federal structure and democracy of the country," Kejriwal said at the protest, also attended by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.

"It is very unfortunate that the chief minister of Kerala had to leave all his work behind and come to Delhi to protest against the excesses of the central government," the AAP leader said.


"We want to ask the Centre. Does it not consider the 70 crore people living in opposition-ruled states as its own? Do you not consider the people of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal as your own," he asked.

Kejriwal also accused the BJP-led central government of starving opposition-ruled states of funds and claimed that a sum of Rs 5,500 crore was not being released to Punjab under rural development funds.

Punjab went to the Supreme Court and only then was the state government approached by central government officers for talks, he claimed. "Will we have to go to the Supreme Court for every small matter," he asked.


Kejriwal further said that Delhi's income tax collection is Rs 2 lakh crore every year but it gets only Rs 325 crore back. "Even the British would not have looted us as much as these people are looting us," he claimed.

Kejriwal also lashed out at the BJP for levelling allegations of corruption against him and his party-ruled government in Delhi.

"The people should decide whether the one who provides free-of-cost facilities like water, electricity, health and education to people is a thief," he said. PTI VIT/SLB VIT IJT IJT