Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin, Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan and Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi objecting to the proposed changes to the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) deputation rules.

The leaders have joined the list of chief ministers of states ruled by Opposition parties who have voiced concerns that the amendments were opposed to the country’s federal structure of governance. Over the last one week, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Baghel, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren and Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot have written to the prime minister on the matter.

The row started after the Centre on January 12, wrote to state governments proposing amendments in Rule 6 (deputation of cadre officers) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, according to The Hindu.

If cleared, the four proposed amendments would allow the Centre to put officers on central deputation bypassing objections from state governments. In case of delay in central deputation of a state cadre officer, they “shall stand relieved from cadre” by the Centre’s order, as per the proposed changes.

The Centre will also get to decide the number of officers to be put on central deputation and will have the final word in case of a dispute with states.

In this letter to Modi on Monday, Rao said the proposed changes were against the federal structure of India’s constitution.

“The proposal is a dangerous move which is against the constitutional framework and spirit of cooperative federalism and if the proposed amendments are implemented by the Centre, the state governments would be reduced to insignificant entities,” he said.

The chief minister claimed that the decision was a move to indirectly control the officers working in the state.

“It amounts to interfering in the functioning of the state governments, targeted harassment of officers and their demoralisation, besides affecting the accountability of the officers to the state government,” he added.

He demanded that the proposed changes are not implemented.

On Sunday, Stalin said that that the proposed changes “strike at the very root” of the country’s “federal polity and state autonomy”.

Stalin pointed out that other states have also raised objections on the matter. He expressed apprehensions that the move would “lead to concentration of powers in the Union government”. He added that the officers would be spending their careers “under perpetual fear of being penalised” by the central government.

Vijayan also expressed similar fears as he contended that the existing deputation rules were already loaded in favour of the Centre and further stringency will “weaken the very root of cooperative federalism”, PTI reported.

“The proposed amendments in the Deputation Rules of All India Services will definitely induce a fear psychosis and an attitude of hesitancy among All India Service Officers to implement policies of a state government, which are formed by party/parties politically opposed by the ruling party at the Centre,” Vijayan said in his letter.

The Kerala chief minister stressed on the need of a “a vibrant democratic and federal polity”, so that states and the Centre could be governed by political parties with different ideologies and views.