Mamata writes to PM Modi, calls meet ‘fruitless’.
New Delhi: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and her Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan will skip the governing council meeting of Niti Aayog scheduled to take place on June 15.
While Ms Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, making it clear that she will not attend the meeting as it would be “fruitless” since “it (Niti Aayog) is a body that has no financial powers”, Mr Vijayan’s plan to skip the meeting was confirmed by sources close to him.
All chief ministers, governors and lieutenant governors have been invited on June 15 to attend the governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog, which will be presided over by Mr Modi, who is the chairperson of the think tank.
While it will be the first meeting of the Niti Aayog governing council after the NDA government returned to power last month, overall it would be the fifth time that the council will be meeting.
The first meeting of the governing council was held in February 2015 while the last meeting was conducted in June 2018.
The main agenda of the meeting includes significance of water conservation, agriculture as well as the progress of the aspirational districts programme.
Apart from this, the governing council will also deliberate on security issues in districts impacted by Left-wing extremism in states such as Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, official sources said.
“Given that the Niti Aayog has no financial powers and the power to support state plans it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting,” Ms Banerjee is learnt to have written in a three-page letter addressed to the Prime Minister.
She has suggested that the think tank should be given financial powers.
The Bengal chief minister’s decision to skip the meeting of the top plan panel comes days after she stayed away from the swearing-in ceremony of Mr Modi on May 30, citing as “untrue” claims by the BJP that 54 of its party workers were murdered in political violence in Bengal.
In her letter to the Prime Minister, Ms Banerjee said suggested that focus should be shifted to the Inter-State Council (ISC) to deepen cooperative federalism and strengthen federal polity.
“The experience of last four-and-half years we had with Niti Aayog brings me back to my earlier suggestion to you that we focus on Inter-State Council constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution, with appropriate modifications to enable ISC to discharge its augmented range of functions as the nodal entity of the country,” she wrote.
“The National Development Council, which has been given a quiet burial, may also be subsumed within the broadened constitutional body of the Inter-State Council,” the chief minister said.