Days after turning down the invite of PM Modi’s oath-taking ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her ‘inability’ in attending the NITI Aayog meet in New Delhi. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Banerjee said that she will not attend the Niti Ayog meeting on June 15 as the body does not have any financial powers to support state plans.
However, there is no signature at the end of the document accessed by News Nation. “Unfortunately, a new body called NITI Ayog was formed on 1st January, 2015 in place of Planning Commission, without assigning any financial powers to assist the state....Furthermore, the new body also lacks the power of supporting the Annual Plan of the States,” the letter said. “Given the fact that the NITI Ayog has no financial powers and the power to support state plans, it is fruitless for me to attend the meeting of a body that is bereft of any financial powers,” Banerjee’s letter added.
Earlier too, Banerjee had skipped meetings of the policy think-tank, expressing her displeasure over the dissolution of Planning Commission and creation of a new structure. The Prime Minister is set to chair the fifth meeting of the Niti Aayog's Governing Council on June 15 to discuss various issues regarding the country's development.
This is another episode in the long-standing feud between Banerjee and Modi. In fact, the BJP is intensifying its strategy to use the Jai Shri Ram slogan to target Mamata Banerjee whenever she tours any part of the state. A report has come out that the West Bengal Chief Minister is so angry with the ongoing drama that it has been instructed to the intelligence officials to map out the danger zones and sanitise the area before her visits. Giving out the details about the unusual order, The Telegraph report said that, “state home department officials said the intelligence agencies had been instructed to identify the areas along the chief minister’s main and alternative routes where she could be accosted with “Jai Shri Ram” chants.”
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Banerjee had tried to deflect the attention and said that she doesn’t have any problem with the chant but the way it is used. “The BJP is using religious slogan such as Jai Sri Ram as their party slogan in a misconceived manner by mixing religion with politics. We do not respect this forcible enforcement of political slogans on others in the name of so-called RSS which Bengal never accepted. This is a deliberate attempt to sell hate ideology through vandalism and violence which we must oppose together,” Banerjee had said in the Facebook blog.