Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee had earlier decided to abstain from the NITI Aayog meeting to be held on the 16th of June. Mamata’s contention was that the meeting was going to be held on Eid and she did not want to disappoint her people by visiting New Delhi on such an important day. The date of the meeting had been shifted to June 17 by the officials after this issue came to notice. The appeasement politics sadly did not end even after this gesture shown by the central government. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu has followed Mamata’ lead and has been urging the government to further postpone the date for the meeting. He too has cited Eid as the reason for his demands of postponing the meeting. The NITI Aayog meeting which is going to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have Chief Ministers of the states sitting with officials from NITI Aayog. The important meeting is being held to decide the course of development India will take in the coming years and the part which states have to play in them.
The nature of the meeting is not political but development oriented. The central government and the NITI Aayog want the various heads of state to know about the plans for the future. The agenda of the meeting is ‘New India 2022’ which explains that this meeting is to decide the future course of action. One more important topic which will be discussed in the meeting is regarding the celebrations of the 150th birthday of Mahatama Gandhi.
Mamata Banerjee is known for playing appeasement politics but Chandrababu Naidu has very quickly picked up her traits. His tone and policies have changed ever since he pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance in March earlier this year. Naidu is now looking to fight against the BJP in Andhra Pradesh and other states where it has a presence. His ambitions are soaring and he wants to be seen as a tough competitor to the BJP in the 2019 elections. Following Mamata Banerjee’s lead, Naidu too is willing to show his ‘secular’ credentials by protesting against the meeting. He has tried this earlier too in the recent past, from asking Endowment Department of Andhra Pradesh to auction off properties belonging to Hindu religious institutions to appointing selected members of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) trust to siphon off the funds received by temples, Naidu has done it all.
Chandrababu Naidu and his pathetic attempts at appointing members of minority communities to high position in the TTD trust were widely criticized. TDP had also demanded the temple bodies to spend money for fulfilling the promises made by TDP pre-elections. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Chandrababu Naidu hardly looks secular after these many wrongs in such a short span of time. The people of Andhra Pradesh are looking forward to give TDP a befitting reply once the elections come. The move to ask for postponing the NITI Aayog meeting will further embolden their belief that TDP and Chandrababu Naidu are indulging in appeasement politics. The plans to form a Third Front for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are already dying a slow death, Chandrababu Naidu’s hopes of being a Third Front leader will surely be dashed to the ground in the days to come.