Two non-Congress chief ministers - Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu and Narendra Modi of Gujarat - made a firey attack on the UPA government accusing it of step brotherly treatment towards non-Congress ruled states and pursuing policies resulting in high inflation.
Jayalalithaa, whose speech was read at the conference, was more vocal than Modi and even termed the National Development Council (NDC) meeting a "ritual" which failed to achieve tangible outcome.
She described Goods and Sales Tax Bill, Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill and Common Entrance Test for professional courses as three instruments the central government was using to usurp the powers of the state governments.
"Price rise is an area where the policies and actions of Central government have miserably failed," she said, a view also held by Modi. Since 2004, price of diesel has increased 13 times and that of petrol 19 times. Interest rate has been increased by 14 times in last 18 months. "There is competition between Petroleum Ministry and Reserve Bank of India in increasing inflation," Modi said.
Modi said that because of lack of coordination between Central government ministries India would be witnessing a "black Diwali" for the first time. He also raised the question of which institution was biggest - NDC or NAC (Sonia Gandhi headed National Advisory Council) and asked government to refrain individual NAC members from attacking state chief ministers. It was in apparent reference to NAC member Harsh Mander's view on status of minorities in Gujarat.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was highly critical of the plan panel's 12th plan approach paper saying disaster management and poverty was missing. He supported plan panel on direct cash transfer to poor instead of distribution of subsidized food grains. He also sought appointment of below poverty line commission to identify the poor while questioning the existing rationale of exclusion and inclusion criteria for the ongoing BPL survey.