Narendra Modi's Team India - 'Jab We Met'

The prim and proper surroundings and lush green lawns of the Prime Minister's residence on a bright yet wintery morning proved to be an ideal setting for the Chief Ministers’ conference on the replacing of the Planning Commission.

Chief Ministers from all States (except West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir) converged at 7, Race Course Road for an eventful and productive meting which demonstrated the essence of cooperative federalism that Narendra Modi talks about. The healthy and congenial manner in which the meeting was held shows a break from the past and has become a practical example of how the State and Centre can work together for national good.

They said it:

The Chief Ministers who attended the meeting seemed extremely satisfied with the ground covered.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu supported the idea of such meetings and welcomed the step taken by the PM.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh talked about the importance of giving the State more freedom to prepare their plans based on their local needs. This is, infact something Modi had also been raising while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Devendra Fadnavis, perhaps the newest CM albeit of one of India's largest States of Maharashtra, described the meeting as insightful. He too echoed the need to replace the Planning Commission with a body where the States have a major say.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje not only complimented the PM for enabling the States to comment fearlessly on Government structures but also extended strong support to the PM’s concept of cooperative federalism in which the States work together for National goals.

The importance of continuing the spirit of national consensus while deliberating on such topics was highlighted by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.

Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao offered his complete cooperation with the Prime Minister and complimented him for taking an initiative (of calling CMs like this), which he described as path breaking.

A first of its kind:

Think of Chief Ministers meeting Prime Ministers and the image that comes to your mind is that of a CM with a large number of officials sitting in Vigyan Bhavan. The Prime Minister sits on stage, flanked by Ministerial colleagues and makes remarks that are followed by remarks of CMs. Often, the dark clouds of politics hovered.

But, on the afternoon of December 7 was a watershed moment. No long speeches, no PM sitting on stage and no officials. Just the PM and the CMs! After the formal part of the meeting, the Chief Ministers moved to the retreat where it was only they and the PM. Without any aides, the Chief Ministers talked about an area where their Government had done something innovative and the impact was felt on the ground. The atmosphere was relaxed as well.

The informal and frank atmosphere brought back memories of the Chintan Shibirs in Gujarat, started by Narendra Modi. The white Rann of Kutch would become the setting for a comprehensive and extensive brainstorming session where Narendra Modi himself (then the CM) would listen to officials through the day.

Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje highlighted what she shared in the retreat:

Twitter 'Stateplomacy':

The bonhomie and non-partisan spirit was evident even on Twitter, not the most bipartisan place. What can illustrate it better than the fact that two non-BJP CMs of big States re-tweeting the Prime Minister himself! Both Akhilesh Yadav (UP CM) and Siddaramaiah (Karnataka CM) re-tweeted the PM's Tweet in which he talks about the retreat.

An idea whose time has come:

This initiative taken by Narendra Modi is praiseworthy and historic.

Most importantly, has shown that his commitment to federalism is a commitment that exists in letter and spirit. He is genuinely trying to create the right atmosphere where Centre and States work together for the good of the nation.

Narendra Modi has put development agenda over politics. All Chief Ministers were invited and heard. There was no discrimination on the basis of region or party.

The meeting and the retreat mark the beginning of a new era, an era of cooperative federalism. An era where decisions will be taken not by partisan and political considerations but will be guided by national interest, respecting the federal spirit of the Constitution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has truly shown what his Team India concept is.

The final word on this must be given to Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat who told the Prime Minister:

'Aapke andar CM ka dil jawan hain. Aur hum kaamna karenge ki jab tak aapka tenure hain tab tak CM ka dil aapke andar jawaan rahe. (Your heart still beats for the States as a CM's would. I would pray that it stays that way throughout your tenure as the PM).'

Surely, it is good times ahead for sound policies and quick decision making!

Courtesy Niti Central



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