Out of the 43 state-level parties invited for a discussion on how to evolve an effective mechanism for inclusive growth with the help of National Rural Employment Gurantee Act ,representatives of only seven turned up for the meeting on Tuesday.
While maximum absentees were from the Opposition-ruled states,representatives of crucial UPA allies like the Trinamool Congress,DMK and NCP were also conspicuous by their absence.
The seven regional parties represented were Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD),Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD),Telugu Desam Party (TDP),Shiv Sena,Jharkhand Vikas Morcha,All India Democratic Morcha (AIDF) and Mulsim League (ML). The absentee list included important parties in power like JD-U (Bihar),BJD (Orissa) and BSP (Uttar Pradesh).
Asked about the poor response,Rural Development Minister C P Joshi refused to comment and said that the question should be posed to the parties.
The government wants to increase the scope of NREGA through its convergence with other schemes and its implementation through panchayats. After soliciting suggestions of national parties,I had invited state-level parties. It is for the parties to explain as to why they did not come, he added.
While Joshis deputy,Minister of State for Rural Development Sisir Adhikari who is from the Trinamool Congress,the largest UPA ally was away in West Bengal,Trinamool chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee was in town,but no one from her party attended the meeting.
The Rural Development Minister however,termed the discussion fruitful and said he had received suggestions from the representatives that would be seriously considered.