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Three CMs want Niti meeting put off

New Delhi: After Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, two other chief ministers of Opposition-ruled states have expressed difficulties in attending Niti Aayog's governing council meeting on Sunday, pointing out that it clashes with key festivals.

While Andhra Pradesh's N. Chandrababu Naidu has cited Id festivities this weekend, as has Mamata, their Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik has pointed to the three-day Raja Utsav in his state.

The meeting has already been rescheduled once after Mamata said she would not be able to attend when it was initially planned for Saturday. The postponement came after Mamata's letter was referred to the PMO. Narendra Modi is the Niti chairman.

On Wednesday, Naidu wrote to Niti vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar saying since Id would be celebrated on Saturday, followed by Id gatherings the next morning, he needed to be in his state. "I request you to kindly postpone the meeting, preferably to forenoon of 18th June 2018 or at least to afternoon of 17th June 2018. We expect a positive consideration of our request," Naidu, who quit the NDA this March, wrote.

Trinamul sources indicated on Wednesday that Mamata was in "wait-and-watch" mode. "Some preparations were being made for her to go after the Centre deferred the meeting by a day. But she believes what the Telugu Desam Party chief has said is correct and wants to wait and watch," said a Trinamul source.

Naidu's letter has been referred to the PMO but officials said the chances of another postponement at such a late juncture appeared remote, particularly as many others had confirmed participation.

Additional reporting by Our Calcutta Bureau

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