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'It's Fruitless': In Letter to PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee Refuses to Attend Niti Aayog Meeting

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

The council, the apex body of Niti Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials.

New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that she would not be attending the Niti Aayog meeting as it is "fruitless" for her.

"Given the fact that the Niti Aayog 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 said in a letter to the prime minister.

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.

PM Modi is scheduled to chair the fifth meeting of Niti Aayog's Governing Council on June 15 to discuss various issues concerning water management, agriculture and security.

The council, the apex body of Niti Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials. This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.

The Governing Council is expected to discuss important subjects, including major issues concerning water management, agriculture, and aspirational district programme, news agency PTI quoted its sources as saying.

Besides, the council will 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, and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015. The second meeting of council on July 15, 2015, reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.

In the third meeting of the council on April 23, 2017, Modi had pitched for conducting simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies and shifting to a January-December fiscal year. The fourth meeting of the council on June 17, 2018, deliberated upon measures taken to double farmers' income and the progress of government's flagship schemes.