West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who skipped Niti Aayog’s Governing Council meet.
The third meeting of the council began at Rashtrapati Bhawan with the main agenda of deliberating on the 15-year Vision Document to accelerate the country’s economic development.
“West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal could not come to attend the Governing Council meeting today at Rashtrapati Bhavan,” a source said.
However, the source said that Kejriwal sent Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to represent Delhi.
The source further said a large number of chief ministers are attending the meeting because Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to allow their official representatives to participate in the deliberations.
The source said Modi had made it clear that only the chief minister or the deputy chief minister will represent their states and no other official will be allowed to participate in the meeting.
Among the opposition ruled states, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami attended the meeting.
Others who were present include Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Suresh Prabhu, Prakash Javadekar, Rao Inderjit Singh and Smriti Irani also attended the meet.
The council, which is the apex body of the Niti Aayog, is headed by the Prime Minister and includes all chief ministers and members.