'India can develop only when...': KCR announces to boycott PM Modi-led NITI Aayog's meeting; BJP calls him 'nizam' of Telangana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair the seventh meeting of the Governing Council on August 7.

'India can develop only when...': KCR announces to boycott PM Modi-led NITI Aayog's meeting; BJP calls him 'nizam' of Telangana

Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Saturday (August 6, 2022) announced to boycott the 7th Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog and told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he is staying away as a mark of strong protest against the present "discriminating trend of the Centre towards states". In a strong-worded four-page letter to Modi, Rao, popularly known as KCR, stated that India as a strong nation can develop only when the states develop.

Strong and economically vibrant states alone can make India a strong country, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president wrote in the letter narrating a host of reasons for his boycotting the meeting.

"In view of these facts I do not find it useful to attend the 7th Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog scheduled to be held on August 7, 2022, and I am staying away from it as a mark of strong protest against the present trend of central government to discriminate against the states and not treating them as equal partners in our collective effort to make India a strong and developed country," Rao said.

He alleged that recent "unpleasant happenings" have given rise to a realisation that the federal structure is being systematically eroded by some "deliberate actions" by the Centre and said that it is needless to say these developments are very much discouraging to "trail-blazing" States like Telangana.

"The blatant discrimination against some States even in the legitimate functions assigned to them in the Constitution leaves much to be desired," Rao added.

He reminded Modi that though in the beginning NITI Aayog had constituted a group of Chief Ministers to give recommendations on developmental issues, it was kept aside and on the contrary the Centre is micromanaging the schemes giving a go-by to State-specific needs which are best left to individual States.

"It is not just in case of such schemes but Centre has also turned a Nelson's eye even to the recommendations of NITI Aayog itself..." the Telanagana CM wrote.

Think tank established with mandate of cooperative federalism: NITI Aayog responds to KCR

The NITI Aayog responded to K Chandrashekar Rao and said that the public policy think tank was set up as an institution with the mandate of cooperative federalism with a premise that "strong states make a strong nation". 

"It is unfortunate that the Hon`ble Chief Minister of Telangana has chosen not to participate in the Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog to be held on 7th August. The Governing Council is a forum where the highest political leaders in the country at the Centre and State levels deliberate on key development-related issues and agree on appropriate outcome-oriented solutions for national development," NITI Aayog said in a statement. 

It added that a number of measures have already been put in place to work closely with states. 

In the last year alone, more than 30 meetings have been held with the Chief Ministers of states by the Vice Chairman/Members of NITI Aayog, the statement read. 

"A delegation led by Vice Chairman NITI Aayog met the Telangana Chief Minister in Hyderabad on 21st January 2021 to discuss development issues pertaining to the State. More recently, despite requests made by NITI Aayog for a meeting, the Chief Minister did not respond," the think tank of the Government of India said.

"The allegation of Hon’ble CM Telangana that states were not co-opted in preparation of agenda is incorrect," it added.

KCR has become 'nizam' of Telangana: Union minister Piyush Goyal

Union minister Piyush Goyal hit back at KCR and said that his views reflect that he is "not interested" in the development of his state and his ward. 

"He thinks himself to be too great to attend it," Goyal said on Telangana CM's refusal to attend the NITI Aayog meeting on Sunday.

"He is forgetting that NITI Aayog is working towards taking the country forward... he doesn't want it to happen. He's become the 'nizam' of Telangana, does not believe in discussion on the development of country and state," the BJP leader was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

KCR has 'no moral courage' to face PM Modi: Telangana BJP chief

Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar also attacked K Chandrasekhar Rao and said that he has "no moral courage" to face Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hence he is boycotting the NITI Aayog meeting with lame-duck excuses.

Lashing out at KCR for his remarks, the BJP leader said that if the chief minister was really worried about the state, he could have raised the concern at the meeting. 

He said KCR's decision to boycott the meeting amounted to insulting democratic institutions.

Sanjay added that KCR never showed interest in going to official meetings during the last eight years. The BJP leader remarked that the TRS chief visits Delhi only for political benefit and to meet leaders of political parties but never went there for the sake of the people.

"KCR is saying that he is boycotting the NITI Aayog meeting but the days are not far when people of Telangana will boycott him," he said.

PM Narendra Modi to chair 7th Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog on August 7

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair the seventh meeting of the Governing Council at Rashtrapati Bhawan Cultural Centre, New Delhi on August 7. 

According to NITI Aayog, the agenda of the meeting, inter alia, includes crop diversification and achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses and agri-communities; implementation of the National Education Policy–school education; implementation of the National Education Policy–higher education; and urban governance.

The meeting would also lay emphasis on the importance of the Presidency for India for the federal system and the role that states can play in highlighting their progress at the G-20 Platform.

This, notably, would be the first in-person meeting of the Governing Council since July 2019. 

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