Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Jharkhand counterpart Sibu Soren today failed to turn up for a key meeting in Kolkata of chief ministers of four Maoist-affected states to fine tune the proposed offensives against the Maoists.
The meeting, convened by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to help states to coordinate their campaign against Naxals, began an hour behind schedule as Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik arrived late.
Soren, who did not attend due to illness, sent his two deputy chief ministers Raghubar Das and Sudesh Mahto, while the Bihar government was represented by its home secretary Amir Subhani and DGP Anand Shankar.
Reports said Kumar kept away from the meeting apparently after the Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee requested that he should not be seen in the company of her arch rival West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
The meeting reviewed at length the strategy adopted to deal with Maoists and coordination among neighbouring states to handle the situation.