KOLKATA: The face-off between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to cease.
After opting to skip his swearing-in ceremony, Mamata wrote to the PM, Friday, saying she would not be attending the Niti Aayog Governing Council meeting as she took it for a “fruitless exercise”.
This is not the first time Mamata has kept away from Niti Aayog meetings.
Earlier, she had skipped meetings of the policy think-tank, expressing her displeasure over the dissolution of the Planning Commission and its eclipse by the Aayog.
The upcoming meeting has been scheduled for June 15 to discuss various issues concerning water management, agriculture and security and is considered significant, being the first such meeting convened by the NDA II government.
Asked the reasons for not attending it, Mamata said in Kolkata, “The Niti Aayog decides its agenda without consulting us. Besides, it will discuss five to six trivial issues that do not fit our planning, programmes or budgetary allocation. It has no authority to provide us financial support. There is no point in attending such a meeting.”
The council, the apex body of Niti Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of Union Territories, several Union ministers and senior government officials.
The Governing Council is expected to discuss important subjects, including major issues concerning water management, agriculture, and aspirational district programmes.
Besides, it would also deliberate on security issues in districts impacted by Left-Wing Extremism in states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council meets regularly. Its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015.
The second meeting of the council on July 15, 2015, had reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.
‘Collegium for poll panel appointemts’
Mamata Banerjee demanded on Friday the setting up of a collegium on the lines of the Supreme Court to appoint election commissioners, asserting that the three nominated members of the poll panel should not be given the mandate to hold elections.
She hit out at the EC for its “partisan approach” during the LS polls.
“In the SC, there is a collegium to decide. In the EC, too, there should be a collegium to decide on appoin-tment of elections commissioners.”