For the first time, Prime Minister Modi publicly took the Congress head-on, during the unveiling ceremony of the statue of former Kerala Chief Minister R Shankar at Kollam district in Kerala on Monday.
Taking a cue from President Pranab Mukherjee’s definition of the three Ds –Debate, Dissent, Decision- which allowed any democracy to function effectively, Modi said he would like to add a fourth D to the same and that was Develop.
But the Congress seemed to be hell-bent on following a different set of Ds –Destruct, Demolish and Destroy, thereby disabling the Parliament from functioning effectively for the development of the nation, Modi thundered.
Empathizing with the backward castes and the marginalized sections of society, the PM reiterated his government’s commitment to empower the poor and the oppressed through education and other developmental policies.
He also lauded Shankar as someone who never deviated from Sree Narayan Guru’s ideals by indulging in ‘practical and compromising politics’.
Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam General Secretary Vellappally Natesan used the occasion to request the PM to name the Central University of Kerala after the Guru, declare Sabarimala as a national pilgrim centre, declare special micro-financing packages, and speedily implement the Sabari railway scheme among others.
The PM however was not ready to commit himself to any of them, though he did accede to their importance. He excused himself from making any major announcement saying the Parliament session was on.
Meanwhile, as a mark of protest for excluding the Kerala Chief Minister from the event, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee held a ‘prarthana sangamam’ (prayer meeting) at the same time, in front of the Shankar statue in Thiruvananthapuram.
Shankar’s son and Kollam SNDP unit president Mohan Shankar attended the prayer meeting. Shankar’s family had earlier registered their protest against the attempt to saffronize Shankar’s legacy by keeping away from the unveiling ceremony in Kollam.