Kerala CM hails Tamil Nadu CM's support for LDF protest against Centre in Delhi

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 6 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who will be leading an LDF protest in New Delhi on February 8 against the Centre's alleged neglect of the state, on Tuesday hailed Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin's backing for the demonstration.

Stalin, on Tuesday, extended full support to Vijayan on the issue of preserving fiscal federalism and accused the Centre of restricting the states' borrowing space by misusing its powers under article 293 of the Constitution.

Vijayan said that Stalin's gesture was a boost to the Left front's efforts to "stand up and resist the vicious efforts to undermine the federal principles enshrined in our Constitution".

He expressed his appreciation for Stalin's support in a post on social media platform X.

"Salutes to Thiru@mkstalin & @arivalayam for extending solidarity & support for Kerala’s protest on February 8th at Delhi against the Centre’s discrimination towards states’ functioning & fiscal autonomy.

"This gesture boosts our efforts to stand up & resist the vicious efforts to undermine the federal principles enshrined in our Constitution. Together, let’s march forward to protect our democracy & constitutional values," he said on X.

In a letter to the Kerala CM, Stalin said, "I want to express my sincere appreciation for your efforts in drawing the attention of the Supreme Court to the pressing issue of the Union Government's attempts to stifle State Governments by exercising arbitrary and discriminatory control over their deficit financing." The Left government in Kerala, which has been blaming the Centre for the state's financial woes, had in its budget attacked the Union government, saying that it was pushing the state towards the worst financial crisis in its history.

Today, various Left ministers, including state Finance Minister K N Balagopal, Industries and Law Minister P Rajeev and Revenue Minister K Rajan, put up posts on their Facebook handles about the upcoming protest on February 8.

Balagopal said that the protest was against the Centre's interference in the administrative process and allocation of funds to the states, which subvert the principles of federalism.

Asserting that the Centre's alleged attempt to slow down Kerala's development activities through economic restrictions needs to be resisted, Rajeev said that is why the protest is being held in Delhi.

Non-BJP governments in various states have expressed solidarity with Kerala in its protest, he said.

However, the Congress-led UDF opposition in Kerala, which was invited to join the protest, had declined it saying it does not agree with the Left narrative blaming the Centre for all of the state's financial problems.

The opposition bloc had pointed out other reasons, including the state government's mismanagement in tax collection and gold sales, apart from issues related to receiving its share of the IGST, for Kerala's financial distress.

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress in Karnataka led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also announced a protest in New Delhi on Wednesday, February 7, alleging "injustice" to the state in tax devolution and grants-in-aid over the past few years. PTI HMP HMP ANE

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