New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that she would not be attending the Niti Ayog meeting scheduled on June 15. “Given the fact that the Niti Ayog 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,” said Banerjee, in the letter addressed to PM Modi.

The recently concluded Lok Sabha polls witnessed a heated verbal duel between Modi and Banerjee who spearheaded the campaigns of their parties in West Bengal. The BJP came up with a surprising poll show in West Bengal by bagging 18 of the state’s 42 seats, only four less than the TMC’s 22.

Earlier, Mamata had skipped the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as prime minister citing ‘untrue” claims by BJP that 54 of the party workers were murdered in political violence in Bengal.

“Congratulations, new Prime Minister, Narendra Modiji. It was my plan to accept the “constitutional invitation” and attend the oath taking ceremony. However, in last one year, I am seeing media reports that the BJP are claiming 54 people have been murdered in political violence in Bengal. This is completely untrue. There have been no political murders in Bengal. These deaths may have occurred due to personal enemity, family quarrels and other disputes, nothing related to politics. There is no such record with us,” Banerjee said in a tweet.

“So I am sorry, Narendra Modi ji, this has compelled me not to attend the ceremony. The ceremony is an august occasion to celebrate democracy, not one that should be devalued by any political party which uses it as an opportunity to score political points. Please excuse me,” she wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, PM Modi will chair the fifth meeting of Niti Aayog’s Governing Council on June 15 to discuss various issues concerning water management, agriculture and security, official sources said Tuesday. The council, the apex body of Niti Aayog, includes all chief ministers, lieutenant governors of union territories, several union ministers and senior government officials. This will be the first governing council meeting under the new Modi government.

Headed by the Prime Minister, the Governing Council meets regularly, and its first meeting took place on February 8, 2015. The second meeting of council on July 15, 2015, reviewed the progress made by the three sub-groups of chief ministers and the two task forces.

In the third meeting of the council on April 23, 2017, Modi had pitched for conducting simultaneous elections of the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies and shifting to a January-December fiscal year. The fourth meeting of the council on June 17, 2018, deliberated upon measures taken to double farmers’ income and the progress of government’s flagship schemes.