Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu urges Niti Aayog to postpone June 17 meeting

After West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has now sought another postponement of the Niti Aayog governing council meeting citing Eid.

The fourth annual meeting of Niti Aayog’s governing council to discuss the country’s development agenda is scheduled for June 17, after it was originally planned for a day earlier. The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Niti Aayog governing council comprises chief ministers and members of the government’s policy think tank.

Naidu is positioning his Telugu Desam Party as a cornerstone of a potential national alliance against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of next year’s parliamentary election, as is Banerjee with her Trinamool Congress.

Banerjee had earlier said she would not attend the Niti Aayog meeting originally scheduled for June 16, also citing Eid. She has avoided Niti Aayog meetings thrice before in opposition to the Modi government’s policies.

The TDP pulled out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in March over the issue of according special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

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Naidu on Wednesday wrote to Niti Aayog vice chairman Rajeev Kumar to postpone the governing council meeting to June 18, insisting that his presence in the state headquarters was essential on Eid “since the festival is very important to the Muslim minority community.” Eid is expected to be observed on June 16, followed by Eid Milaap the next day.

“I request you to kindly postpone the proposed Niti Aayog Governing Council meeting preferably to forenoon of 18th June 2018 or at least to afternoon of 17th June 2018,” Naidu wrote.

At a review meeting with senior bureaucrats in Amaravati on Wednesday morning, Naidu directed the officials to prepare a comprehensive report on pending issues of state bifurcation, central financial assistance to state projects, and central assistance to various central schemes being implemented in Andhra.

The Union government has drawn criticism earlier for deciding to hold Digital India Day on Good Friday and Good Governance Day on Christmas.

The government’s decision in 2014 to celebrate December 25 as Good Governance Day had evoked resistance from opposition parties and several Christian organisations, which said this would compel state government employees who are Christians to work on Christmas.

Source: Economic Times