10 CMs skip PM Modi’s NITI Aayog meeting
The Chief Ministers of two Congress-ruled states—Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh—are participating in the NITI Aayog’s governing council meeting
Chief Ministers of 10 states — Bihar, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal (all of them ruled by non-BJP parties) — have skipped the eighth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, which is being chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (May 27).
Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Bhagwant Mann (Punjab), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), MK Stalin (Tamil Nadu), K Chandrashekar Rao (Telangana) and, Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) have not participated in the Niti Aayog meeting.
The meeting is set to deliberate on issues such as health, women empowerment, and infrastructure development.
The chief ministers of the two Aam Aadmi Party-ruled states — Punjab and Delhi — have formally announced their decision to boycott the meeting citing high-handed behaviour of the union government towards their states. The other chief ministers cited various personal reasons for giving the meeting a miss.
Kejriwal decided to skip the meeting to protest the ordinance passed by the union government which overturned the Supreme Court’s order on the state’s control over services. In a letter addressed to PM Modi, Kejriwal wrote that there was no use attending this meeting, when “the Centre is openly making fun of cooperative federalism”.
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“NITI Aayog’s objective is to prepare a vision for India and promote cooperative federalism. But in the past few years, the way democracy has been attacked and the way the non-BJP governments are being toppled, is neither our country’s vision nor cooperative federalism,” stated Kejriwal’s letter.
The Delhi chief minister wrote in the letter, “If any non-BJP party forms government in any state, will not be tolerated. Either they (non-BJP government) will be toppled by poaching their MLAs or ED and CBI is used to threaten the MLAs to break the government”.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will not attend the meeting the union government’s decision of not paying ₹3,600 crore to the state towards rural development fee (RDF). AAP’s Punjab spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang said Mann had requested the Centre to release the RDF, but the union government has been delaying it.
“The union government reduced the Mandi Development Fee (MDF) from 3 per cent to one per cent. Where will the money come for the development of rural areas and the mandi infrastructure? The Centre is discriminating against Punjab,” said Kang.
Rao said he would be hosting Kejriwal in Hyderabad on Saturday. Kejriwal is meeting Rao to seek support from KCR’s party BRS to oppose the central government’s ordinance on control of services in the national capital.
Odisha CMO said Patnaik had prior programmes in Odisha as a result of which he would not be attending the NITI Aayog meeting.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had already decided that she would not attend the NITI Aayog’s governing Council meeting and the Centre rejected the state government’s request to send the finance minister.
While Rajasthan CM Gehlot cited illness as the reason for not attending the meeting, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said he has several programmes in Patna on Saturday. Karnataka’s Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is busy with the swearing-in program to expand his cabinet on Saturday. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin is on a two-nation tour.
Kerala CM Vijayan has not given any reason for his absence at the meeting.
The Chief Ministers of two Congress ruled states—Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh—are participating in the NITI Aayog’s governing council meeting.
NITI Aayog stated that “Eight prominent themes will be discussed during the day-long Meeting including (i) Viksit Bharat@2047, (ii) Thrust on MSMEs, (iii) Infrastructure and Investments, (iv) Minimising Compliances, (v) Women Empowerment, (vi) Health and Nutrition, (vii) Skill Development, and (viii) Gati Shakti for area development and social infrastructure.”
It added, “The meeting will see the participation of Chief Ministers/Lt Governors of all states and Union Territories, Union Ministers as ex-officio members, and the vice-chairman and Members of NITI Aayog”.