Chief ministers of 10 states from the Opposition parties on Saturday skipped the eighth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The chief ministers who skipped the meeting are Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann, Nitish Kumar from Bihar, Mamata Banerjee from West Bengal, Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Telangana’s K Chandrasekhar Rao, Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, Tamil Nadu’s MK Stalin, Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah.
“NITI Aayog’s objective is to prepare a vision for India and promote cooperative federalism,” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said. “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.”
The AAP supremo’s decision comes at a time when his party and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government are in tussle over control of bureaucrats in the national capital.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that she would not attend the meeting while her Kerala and Odisha counterparts are not attending the meeting citing prior programmes in their states.
Gehlot’s office cited the chief minister’s poor health as the reason for the cancellation of his visit. Siddaramaiah was unable to attend the meeting as he was occupied with the swearing-in ceremony for his Cabinet expansion. Meanwhile, Stalin is currently out of the country.