In a growing trend of states avoiding Centrally organised events, Jharkhand and Bihar have decided to skip the Centre-State Science Conclave that was inaugurated on Saturday by Prime Minister Modi. The event is being attended by all other state governments and an official reason for their absence is awaited.
The conclave, which is the first of its kind, is to be a two-day event aimed at strengthening Centre-State coordination and collaboration mechanisms to “build a robust science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem across the country”.
Apart from the central and state governments, the conclave will be attended by top industrialists, young scientists and innovators.
Organised at Science City, Ahmedabad, the conclave will include sessions on various themes including digital health care, technological interventions for improving farmers’ income, clean energy, and innovation for producing potable drinking water to name a few.
This decision by the two states comes amid political unrest in both.
In Jharkhand, while Chief Minister Soren won a test of strength in Assembly, he still faces the prospect of disqualification for granting a mining lease to himself while in office.
It was the BJP which made the complaint to the Election Commission. The ruling JMM-Congress alliance has also accused the BJP of trying to split the parties and topple the government, the way it happened in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Bihar, the other state avoiding the conclave, recently emerged from a political storm, as Chief Minister NItish Kumar ended the alliance with the BJP and formed a new government with Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and other smaller parties.
In another incident, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided she would not attend the inauguration of a 28-foot statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose near India Gate and a refurbished Central Vista on Thursday.
“I got a letter yesterday, written probably by an undersecretary yesterday saying the PM will inaugurate the Netaji statue at 7 pm and you must be there at 6 pm. As if I am their servant or bonded labour,” she said.
Mamata Banerjee had earlier taken exception to not being invited to meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “I have noticed that the Centre tries to stop me whenever I am invited to any foreign country. I want to know why the Union government is so worried about me meeting foreign dignitaries,” she remarked.