Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday ducked questions about reports that claim poll strategist Prashant Kishor is planning to work with her in the near future saying, ‘it is an internal issue.’
“I won’t speak on him, it is an internal issue,” Banerjee said while addressing a press conference.
Earlier, Kishore met Banerjee raising speculation about working with her in the near future to help her foil the BJP's growing influence in the state and maintain her grip on Bengal for the 2021 state polls.
Accompanied by TMC MP and the chief minister's nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, Kishor had a discussion with the CM at Nabanna, the state secretariat, for nearly two-and-a-half hours, sources said.
Talking about her decision of not attending a meeting of NITI Aayog to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 15, the chief minister said the body is not effective and therefore Planning Commission should be brought back.
“Planning Commission was more effective than NITI Aayog,” Banerjee said.
Her decision to skip the meeting of the top plan panel comes days after she stayed away from the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30 citing as ‘untrue’ claims by the BJP that 54 of the party workers were murdered in political violence in Bengal.
She has already conveyed her decision not to attend the Niti Aayog meeting in a letter written to the prime minister.
"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 wrote.
She also suggested that focus should be shifted to the Inter-State Council (ISC) to deepen cooperative federalism and strengthen federal polity.
"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 Constitution, with appropriate modifications to enable ISC to discharge its augmented range of functions as the nodal entity of the country," she said.
PM 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.
Earlier too, Banerjee had skipped meetings of the policy think-tank, expressing displeasure over the dissolution of the Planning Commission and creation of a new structure.