West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office, informing him that she would not attend the Niti Aayog meeting scheduled for June 15.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief, in her letter, wrote that she was not attending the meeting because the NITI Aaayog did not have any financial powers and the power to support state plans. Hence, it was "fruitless for me to attend the meeting", she added.
Mamata Banerjee's refusal to attend the June 15 meeting has come in the aftermath of the drubbing the TMC got in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP made inroads into Mamata Banerjee's pocket-borough -- West Bengal -- and won 18 of 42 seats in the state.
The Modi government has retained almost all members of NITI Aayog, barring Bibek Debroy, who headed Economic Advisory Council of the Prime Minister (EAC-PM). The NITI Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission in January 2015, has Rajiv Kumar as its vice-chairman.
Four Cabinet ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, are now its ex-officio members, according to an official release issued on Thursday.
The government think tank, headed by PM Modi, was reconstituted ahead of its governing council meet next week. The meeting takes place at a time when economic growth is slipping and the government will be trying hard to find resources in the Budget to perk it up. Chief ministers are also members of the council.
The TMC and the BJP have been involved in a major war of words, and episodes of violence too, ever since the proceedings for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls began.
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