NEW DELHI, April 26: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was conspicuous by his absence at a meeting of the northern zol council chaired by Union home minister Rajth Singh here on Saturday. Though Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan chief ministers, like Kejriwal, were also represented by their deputy or a senior minister, the conference, which discussed issues related to federalism, was attended by the chief ministers of Punjab, Harya and Himachal Pradesh as well as Delhi LG.
Incidentally, Kejriwal has been loggerheads with the Centre, which controls law & order in Delhi, over a host of issues, the latest being the probe into a farmer’s suicide at an AAP rally in Jantar Mantar. This could have been his first chance as chief minister to raise his concerns at a Centre-state forum. While making opening remarks at the meeting, home minister Rajth Singh said that the Inter State Council mechanism was crucial to strengthening Centre-state relations. “Cooperative federalism must be strong and the Centre has to work for strengthening the states,” he said. The Northern Zol Council on Saturday reviewed the progress of implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting of the council held at Chandigarh in July 2012. Issues discussed include procurement of agri-produce on minimum support price, interlinking of rivers, eco-sensitive zones, air pollution in Delhi and setting up homes for the intellectually impaired/mentally challenged in all northern states etc. (IANS)