7 CMs Boycott NITI Aayog Meeting; Concerns Mount Over Cooperative Federalism

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the 8th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog, which witnessed the absence of eight Chief Ministers. Among them, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot cited health reasons, while Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan did not provide a specific explanation for his absence.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal boycotted the meeting, expressing concerns over a recent ordinance and criticizing the diminishing spirit of cooperative federalism in the country. He wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, asserting that participating in the meeting would be futile until pending issues were addressed.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann also decided to skip the meeting, citing the Centre’s disregard for Punjab’s interests. He had previously raised concerns about the Rural Development Fund, stubble burning, and farmers’ issues in the last meeting, but felt that the Centre did not pay adequate attention to them. Calling the meeting a mere “photo session,” Mann stated that he would not participate until the pending issues were resolved.

Three other prominent opposition leaders—Telangana’s K. Chandrashekar Rao, West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, and Bihar’s Nitish Kumar—also chose to abstain from the meeting. These leaders have been working towards forging a united opposition front to counter the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

However, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik was absent from the meeting due to a prior commitment.

The absence of these Chief Ministers sparked discussions and raised concerns about the collaborative approach between the Centre and the states in the formulation and implementation of crucial policies.

The BJP expressed disappointment over the non-participation of the Chief Ministers, emphasizing that their absence hindered the representation of their respective states’ interests and the voice of their people in a crucial planning meeting. They highlighted the significance of NITI Aayog as a platform for national development and policy-making.

While PM Modi chaired the 8th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog with the aim of shaping India’s development, the absence of several Chief Ministers has raised concerns about cooperative federalism and the representation of state interests in the decision-making process. The meeting addressed key national development priorities, but the participation and collaboration of all stakeholders remain crucial for effective governance and inclusive growth.

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