Four opposition CMs to skip NITI Aayog meet

WB CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao will skip the meeting tomorrow 

| Updated: 26 May, 2023 8:45 pm IST
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal wrote a  letter to PM Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI: Opposition parties seem to have decided to continue their boycott game as four Chief Ministers have decided not to participate in the NITI Aayog meeting that is scheduled to take place on May 27.

“West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann and Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao would not be participating in the NITI Aayog,” a source close to the development told The New Indian.

CM Kejriwal reasoned that he would not attend the meeting in protest against the undemocratic and unconstitutional services ordinance imposed by the Central Government.

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In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal expressed his concerns and highlighted the need to uphold democratic principles and constitutional norms. He wrote about the diminishing significance of attending the NITI Aayog meeting when constitutional norms and democratic principles are disregarded. The CM has appealed for the free functioning of non-BJP governments and urged the Prime Minister to respect the orders of the Supreme Court.

In his letter, CM Kejriwal further highlighted the disturbing trend of non-BJP governments being toppled, overthrown, or hindered from functioning effectively. He noted that such actions do not align with the spirit of cooperative federalism, which is the objective of the NITI Aayog. He has also emphasised that it has become increasingly clear that non-BJP governments face significant challenges and resistance in carrying out their mandates.

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The letter further outlines three common tactics employed against non-BJP governments, including the purchase of MLAs, using enforcement agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation to instill fear and poach MLAs, and imposing ordinances or preventing government functioning through the Governor.

CM Kejriwal has further shed light on how the Central Government overturned the Supreme Court’s order by passing an ordinance within eight days, rendering the Delhi government powerless and hindering its ability to govern effectively.

“After an eight-year struggle, the people of Delhi won in the Supreme Court, and in just eight days, you overturned the Supreme Court’s order by passing an ordinance. So, if any officer of the Delhi government fails to work, the elected government chosen by the people cannot take any action. How will such a government function? It is being made completely powerless. Why do you want to render the Delhi government powerless? Is this the vision of our nation? Is this cooperative federalism?” the letter stated.

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In the letter, CM Kejriwal asserted that the people of the entire country share opposition to these measures and question the respect for the judiciary. “The Supreme Court is considered the greatest temple of justice. People are asking, if you don’t even respect the Supreme Court, where should they go for justice?”

He has emphasised that when constitutional norms and democratic principles are disregarded, attending the NITI Aayog meeting loses its significance. “When such brazen disregard for the Constitution and democracy is taking place, and cooperative federalism is being mocked by your government, then attending the NITI Aayog meeting holds no meaning. People are saying that we should not attend tomorrow’s NITI Aayog meeting. Hence, it is not possible for me to attend the meeting tomorrow.”

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The CM has called upon the PM to allow non-BJP governments to work freely and respect the orders of the Supreme Court. He has stressed the importance of cooperative federalism, where all states and governments collaborate for the progress of the country. He has highlighted that supporting only BJP governments while hindering the work of non-BJP governments will ultimately impede the development of the nation.

It was learned that the West Bengal government wanted to send Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya on behalf of the state to the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council meeting that will be held at Pragati Maidan tomorrow. However, the centre did not agree with the decision.

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