State BJP chief Kummanam Rajasekharan on Friday did not mince words when he reiterated that Kerala Local Self Government Minister KT Jaleel ‘had asked for it’, when asked to comment on the minister being denied a diplomatic passport by the Union External Affairs Ministry to visit Saudi Arabia.
Jaleel had been deputed by the Kerala government to visit the Gulf nation to carry out an on-ground assessment of the reported plight of many Keralites who had purportedly lost their jobs and were languishing in Saudi labour camps.
Speaking to the media, Kummanam harshly criticized the minister for having applied for a diplomatic passport in the first place, even when he knew that Union Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh was already in Saudi to deal with the situation.
“It is common knowledge that a diplomatic passport is not bestowed on all who apply for it. The demand was made just to reap political mileage out of the whole issue and to simply point fingers at the Centre. The Minister actually asked for it, in all senses of the term.” he alleged.
Meanwhile Kerala Chief Minister has hit out at the central government calling the MEA's decision unfortunate. "The decision to send KT Jaleel to Saudi Arabia was taken after due consideration the problems of people stranded there. I don't understand why he was denied the passport," the CM said.
Thiruvananthapuram MP and Indian National Congress (INC) leader Shashi Tharoor also had come out in Jaleel’s defence terming the MEA refusal as ‘deplorable’, and asking whether this was how cooperative federalism functioned.