West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her counterparts from Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao and Punjab Amarinder Singh will not attend the first meeting of the Niti Aayog governing council, to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Banerjee and Rao had also skipped the MOdi's swearing-ceremony on May 23.
A vocal critic of the Modi government, Banerjee refused to attend the Niti Aayog meet saying that it was "fruitless' as the body had "no financial powers".
In a three-page letter written to Modi, she said it was "useless" to attend the meet as the agenda had been fixed by the Centre without consulting the states.
Chandrashekhar Rao is learnt to be busy with preparations for the launch of an irrigation project.
Amarinder Singh, who also skipped a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states headed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would also give the Niti Aayog meet a miss, due to poor health.
This is the first meeting of the Niti Aayog after the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) landslide victory in the general elections and will be held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
According to a statement issued by the Niti Aayog, issues like rain-water harvesting, drought situation and relief measures, transforming aspirational districts as well as security-related issues with a specific focus on left wing extremism-hit districts are expected to be discussed at the meeting.