The BJP on Saturday lashed out at chief ministers who boycotted the governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog, calling their decision "anti-people" and "irresponsible".
The meeting, which began here on Saturday, has on its agenda to discuss several issues including, health, skill development, women empowerment and infrastructure development, with an aim to make India a developed nation by 2047.
Addressing a press conference, senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the NITI Aayog is a key body for determining the entire objective, policy framework and roadmap for the development of the country.
He said as many as 100 issues are proposed to be discussed in the eighth governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog but chief ministers of eight states are not coming to attend it.
Prasad said chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal, Bhagwant Mann, Mamata Banerjee, Nitish Kumar, M K Stalin, K Chandrashekar Rao are among those not attending the meet.
"I have been told that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is also not coming, perhaps due to health reasons. What is the truth will come from his side, but there is no representation (at the meeting) on his behalf," he said.
The BJP leader said Niti Aayog is a very important forum to have a wide-ranging consultative process among the Centre, states and and Union Territories and key decisions are taken at its governing council meeting for their implementation on the ground.
That's why the Prime Minister presides over this meeting and senior ministers from the Centre also attend it so that decisions are taken on larger issues with suggestions of the chief ministers for their implementation on the ground, he added.
"Why are they not coming to attend the meeting where 100 issues are to be discussed? If such a large number of chief ministers do not participate, they are not bringing the voice of their states," Prasad said.
It is "very unfortunate, irresponsible and anti-people", he said, adding that people of the states are going to be "directly affected" by the absence of their chief ministers at the meeting.
"Shouldn't people get benefits?... How far will you go in opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the BJP leader asked.
"You will get more opportunities to oppose Modi. But why are you causing harm to the people of your state?" he questioned.
This decision to boycott the meeting by eight chief ministers is "totally irresponsible" and is also "against the public interest and the interest of people they govern in their states", Prasad said.
"There will be problems in making a roadmap of development in your state. And, after decisions are taken at the meeting, you will say you were not a party to it," he said.
"You won't come to attend the meeting after being invited and then complain," he charged.
Prasad said decisions taken at the last seven meetings of the Niti Aayog's governing council resulted in "lots of benefits".
"Today, 2,530 cities have adopted the online building permit system in 30 states and Union Territories," he said, highlighting the impact of various decisions taken by the governing council at its last seven meetings.
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