HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao skipped the sixth meeting of the Governing Council of Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conferencing on Saturday. The government was represented by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
Chandrashekar Rao’s counterparts Mamata Banerjee and Amarinder Singh also stayed away. The Niti Aayog Twitter handle ignored Telangana state in its updates of the meeting.
Rao had also skipped the fifth meeting held on June 25, 2019, citing his ‘busy schedule’ on account of the Kaleshwaram irrigation project inauguration on June 21, 2019. He did not depute any official for that meeting.
However, this time the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) did not provide any reason for Chandrashekar Rao’s absence. Chief secretary Somesh Kumar attended the meeting on his behalf.
On February 15, Somesh Kumar had convened a meeting with senior officials and asked them to prepare a progress report of Telangana state to be submitted to the Chief Minister to enable him to prepare for the Niti Aayog meeting. He submitted the progress report to Rao on Thursday. The Chief Minister sought more details from the CS on Friday.
According to official sources, the CM decided to skip the meeting all of a sudden on Saturday morning and asked the CS to attend on his behalf.
There was no release from either the CMO or the CS office. They did not furnish any details about issues the state government had raised and what it was seeking from the Centre.
Official sources revealed that the CS presented the progress card of Telangana state government in various sectors, especially irrigation, agriculture, health and infrastructure sectors. Chief Secretary Kumar sought funds for Mission Bhagiratha, Mission Kakatiya and Hyderabad Pharma City.
Interestingly, the official Twitter handle of Niti Aayog also ignored any mention of Telangana state in its updates of the meeting.
While it updated highlights of what the Chief Ministers of of 25 states and three Lieutenant Governors and two administrators of Union Territories spoke in the meeting, there was no mention about the issues raised by Somesh Kumar.