Mamata demands collegium to pick ECs, seeks Opp support against EVMs
Still licking her wounds from the electoral defeat at the hands of the BJP in parliamentary elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided against joining the NITI Ayog meeting, to be attended by Chief Ministers and chaired by the Prime Minister.
The TMC chief on Friday said she would not attend the meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 15. She said it is “simply useless” to attend the meet as its agenda is fixed by the Centre without consulting the States.
Mamata also demanded a collegium be set up on the lines of Supreme Court to appoint Election Commissioners. Hitting out at the Election Commission for what she alleged was its partisan approach during the Lok Sabha polls, Mamata said three nominated members of the EC should not be given the mandate to hold polls.
She appealed to all the Opposition parties to unitedly demand constitution of a fact-finding committee to unravel alleged EVM tampering and electoral malpractices. “There are numerous evidences of EVM programming and election malpractices. We think there should be a fact-finding committee to unravel the tampering of EVMs, hawala transactions. Other Opposition parties should also demand it. I will speak to the Congress regarding this demand,” Mamata said after a party meeting here.
She has has written a letter to the Prime Minister expressing her disapproval of the NITI Aayog that was formed by the Modi Government post 2014. The Aayog had replaced the Planning Commission.
“I had written to you regarding the dissolution of the Planning Commission as it had played significant role in working with the States,” she wrote in the letter iterating that “NITI Aayog was formed with no financial powers.”
The TMC chief also reminded that the institution “lacks the power of supporting the annual plan of States as there is no financial power with the NITI Aayog,” adding “it is fruitless to attend the meeting.”
“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 said.
Both Modi and Mamata fired relentless salvos at each other during their two-month long election campaign often raising personal issues in the electoral slugfest.
Decrying the Chief Minister’s decision not to join the NITI Aayog meeting, the Bengal BJP leadership on Friday said by doing so “she is hiding facts.”
Attacking Mamata, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “The Chief Minister knows that she will have to give detailed accounts of the grants that her Government received from the Centre all these years. She also knows that her Government will fail in doing so because of huge financial embezzlements. So she is not going in order to hide herself from embarrassment and action.”
He also said that Mamata was not able to rise from the petty regional politics. “Besides, she is mixing politics with development which is also the reason why she is not going to Delhi. Her anger is against the BJP because she knows that after 2021 her empire will crumble down. This is an expression of that anger against staring defeat,” said Ghosh.
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