Advani demands revival of Inter-State Council



New Delhi: Accusing the UPA government of putting under threat the country's federal structure, senior BJP leader L K Advani on Wednesday demanded revival of the Inter-State Council to discuss issues and grievances of the states.

In his latest blog posting, Advani maintained that in 1983, the Sarkaria Commission- set-up by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi- had stated that post-1967 there were state governments of diverse hues having different views on regional and inter-state problems.

This has made the need for setting up an Inter-State Council "an imperative necessity", it said.

The senior BJP leader said though Article 263 of the Constitution recommends formation of an Inter-State Council, it was formed only in 1990. Even after formation it remained defunct till 1998, he said.

"As Home Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government formed in 1998, I was able to revive it, and during the NDA's tenure meetings were held almost every year. All chief ministers were members of this Inter-State Council, apart from several Union ministers nominated by the Prime Minister," Advani said.

He insisted that all 247 recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission were considered and final decisions taken in several meetings of the Inter-State Council held during Vajpayee's tenure as Prime Minister.

BJP has been critical of the Centre for its "step-brotherly" treatment to states where it is in power. Recently it cried foul on the cutting down of kerosene quota of Gujarat, and the actions of Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj who had recommended imposition of President's Rule in the state.

The opposition party had passed a resolution on the UPA government being a "grave threat" to the federal structure, at its National Executive Meeting in Lucknow.

"An important resolution adopted was the one which very powerfully dealt with the continuing disregard of federalism by the present Union Government. The resolution was eloquently presented by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendrabhai Modi, and adopted unanimously by the Executive," Advani said.

Greater empowerment of the Inter-State Council is a prominent part of this resolution.

"No meeting of the Inter-State Council has been held since 2006. It is high time the Council is convened," Advani said on his blog.

PTI