New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao will not attend the fifth governing council meeting on the NITI Aayog on Saturday which will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rao has said that he will be busy with the preparations for the inauguration of an irrigation project in Telangana while Mamata had earlier refused to attend the meeting and termed it ‘fruitless’.

Mamata in a 3-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it is ‘simply useless’ to attend the meeting because the agendas will be fixed by the Centre without consulting the states.

She also said that the Planning Commission was more effective than NITI Aayog and asked for its return.

"I have also written a letter to like-minded chief ministers of opposition parties raising the issue of the planning commission to be brought back. 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," she said.

"The experience of last four-and-half years we had with Niti Aayog brings me back to my earlier suggestion to you that we focus on Inter-State Council constituted under Article 263 of the Constitution, with appropriate modifications to enable ISC to discharge its augmented range of functions as the nodal entity of the country," she added.

This will be the first meeting of the NITI Aayog after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to power.

The Niti Aayog had earlier said that it would discuss the issues like rain-water harvesting, drought situation and relief measures, transforming aspirational districts as well as security-related issues with a specific focus on Left Wing Extremism-hit districts.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma