'Anti-national', says West Bengal BJP after Mamata decides to skip NITI Aayog meeting
Kolkata, June 07: Lashing out at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her decision to skip the Niti Aayog meeting on June 15, the state BJP unit on Friday said the TMC supremo was behaving like an "anti-national" and trying to scuttle the growth of Bengal.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) was quick to hit back, saying it does not need lessons on nationalism or development from a "communal party like the BJP".
Talking to PTI, West Bengal BJP vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar said Banerjee's move was against the interest of the nation.
"When the entire country is moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata is the only one opposing it. Even chief ministers of Congress-ruled states are attending the Niti Aayog meeting.
"This (Mamata's decision) is against the interest of the nation. She is behaving like an anti-national, trying to scuttle the growth of Bengal," he said.
Banerjee on Friday expressed her inability to attend the meeting of the policy think-tank on June 15, saying it was "fruitless" as the body had no financial powers to support state plans.
"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," Banerjee said in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi is set to chair the fifth meeting of the Niti Aayog's Governing Council on June 15 to discuss various issues regarding the country's development.
Criticizing the TMC supremo for her decision, BJP state president and first-time MP Dilip Ghosh said her excuse to skip the meeting was "lame".
"Her decision reflects that she is yet to accept her defeat and wants to politicize everything. While doing so, she is affecting the development of the state. She should be ashamed of it.
"Only she has a problem with Niti Aayog, other chief ministers don't. Banerjee is giving lame excuses as she does not want to attend the meeting," Ghosh said.
Hitting out at the BJP leadership, state food supplies minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said it was for the chief minister to decide whether she wants to attend the meet.
"What is point in attending a meeting that would not bear any result? The BJP can't force us to attend any meeting; it is the prerogative of the chief minister... Also, neither the TMC nor Mamata Banerjee need lessons on nationalism or development from a communal party like BJP," Mullick added.
Banerjee's decision to skip the think-tank meeting comes amid heightened political tussle between the TMC and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal.
With the saffron party bagging 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the just-concluded general election, its leaders have asserted that they would overthrow the Trinamool Congress government in the 2021 assembly polls.
The TMC, which had won 34 seats in 2014, was able to secure 22 seats this time.
Last month, Banerjee had given Modi's swearing-in ceremony a miss, contending that the BJP's claim that 54 of its workers were killed in political violence in Bengal was "completely untrue"