New Delhi: The chief ministers of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh Tuesday complained of discrimination by the central government in development projects.
They were speaking at a session on "coalition government and rapid growth" during a conference organised here by the Jagran Forum.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also called for simultaneous elections to parliament, assemblies and local bodies, a fixed term for legislatures and state funding of elections.
Nitish Kumar said the central government had given a financial package for Bundelkhand but had not done much for people affected by the Kosi floods of 2008.
"I am very happy that Bundelkhand got a package. The Kosi floods led to lakhs of people losing their homes. Should they not get aid to build their houses?" Kumar said.
He said sand brought by the river had spoilt agricultural land in the area. "Don`t people need help to start alternative agriculture?" he asked, adding: "There should be the same outlook for the entire country. One should work without discrimination."
Nitish Kumar said the central government should provide assistance to his state to implement the Right to Education Act. He said some investment projects related to the state were pending clearance from the central government.
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal-United government in Bihar was working smoothly and coalition governments reflected "social balance".
Chauhan said the Madhya Pradesh government was facing hurdles in getting clearances for the Maheshwar dam in the state.
"The project is almost complete. It will provide water to Indore and Devas. But it has been stopped. Something is not right," he said.
Chauhan said 48 percent of the population in his state was living below the poverty line. He urged the central government to provide funds to implement the Right to Education Act. "The state needs Rs.13,000 crore in the first year to implement the act. Where will money come from?"
The chief minister said the Maoist problem was not a law and order issue alone and the sense of deprivation among tribals and backward sections also need to be addressed. He said people who were ousted by large projects feel they alone were paying the price of development.
Calling for simultaneous elections at all levels of legislature, he said political parties have to constantly prepare for polls in one part of the country or the other. "This affects governance and long-term planning," he said.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said coalition governments were in a better position to cater to regional aspirations. He said coalitions had led to a balanced approach in governance though post-poll alliances could be unstable.
The day-long conference on "Democracy: Challenges of Consensus Building in India" is being attended by several senior political leaders.