The Kerala unit of the Congress party has not taken kindly to the BJP’s alleged insult of its Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The CM’s name was reportedly taken off the guest list by the Prime Minister’s Office, for an event organized by the Sree Narayana Guru Dharma Paripalana Yogam.
The SNDP is set to unveil the statue of former Congress chief minister R Shankar on December 15. Vellapally Natesan, who heads the SNDP, had invited Chandy. On December 10, the guest list including Chandy’s name was circulated among the media.
However, earlier this week, Chandy said he withdrew from the event as Natesan, who had invited him, had asked him not to come at the behest of the state BJP unit.
According to Manorama Online, however, it was the PMO which struck off Chandy’s name. The newspaper reported that Kerala’s General Administration Department had sent the guest to the PMO on December 10, and when the list of confirmed invitees was returned, the Kerala Chief Minister’s name was not included.
While the Chief Minister himself has said that he was pained by the withdrawal of the invitation to him, he announced that he would not go. Other politicians from the state, including Congress leaders, have lambasted the central leadership of the BJP for the slight to Kerala.
Local CPI (M) MLA PK Gurudasan said he will not be participating in the function though he was invited. He said avoiding Chief Minister to such function was against the idea of a democracy.
Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennitala said, “This is to insult our state and Chief Minister. If same attitude continues in development activities it will be condemned strictly. The central leadership of BJP is behind this.”
VM Sudheeran KPCC President was scathing in his criticism. “This is an insult to democracy. They are trying to communalize R Shanker and take away his legacy. They are questioning the reasoning power of the public. Vellapally is the slave of Sangh Parivar. Neglecting CM was a standard-less act,” he said.
Meanwhile in a recent Facebook post CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the organisers of the event – SNDP – and sought an explaination for the decision. He sought to know what disqualified the Chief Minister from sharing the dais with the Prime Minister. The senior Communist leader also reminded the PM that he was going to share the dais with an accused (Vellapally Natesan) in a financial fraud case, while he practices ‘untouchability’ with Chandy.
“It was Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who invited PM to the function. What secret evidence did central government get to prove the disqualification of Chandy,” Pinarayi asks.
The veteran leader also pointed that Shankar was a Congress leader until his death.
Pinarayi also criticized Chandy and the Congress for keeping quiet about the issue and for not taking legal action against Vellapally’s ‘communally driven’ activities.
Pinarayi was the first one to react against the PMO for not allotting time for a meeting between cabinet ministers and Narendra Modi, during his visit to Kerala. Pinarayi had also said that PMO informed the Kerala government that CM can meet PM from the technical area of airport which was an insult to the state.
Pinarayi also urged the Congress to get rid of its ‘slavery’ mentality.