New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hit back at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her decision to not attend a NITI Aayog meeting scheduled on June 15. “For her political benefits, she can compromise with the developmental prospects of her state.  Will make her refusal an electoral issue,” said BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao.

He added,”For Mamata Banerjee, politics is more important and she can really hurt the developmental prospects of West Bengal. She will further lose public esteem for politicising development agenda with the Centre. BJP will make it an electoral issue and tell the people of West Bengal how Mamata has actually compromised with developmental interest and prospects of the state.”

Earlier on Friday, Mamata wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stated that she would not be attending the Niti Ayog meeting. “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.

West Bengal BJP vice-president Jay Prakash Majumdar also lambasted Banerjee’s move saying her decision was against the interest of the nation. “When the entire country is moving forward under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mamata is the only one opposing it. Even chief ministers of Congress-ruled states are attending the Niti Aayog meeting. “This (Mamata’s decision) is against the interest of the nation. She is behaving like an anti-national, trying to scuttle the growth of Bengal,” he said.

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.

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.

Mamata had also 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.