The Kochi Metro has been inaugurated, but the controversies surrounding the event are showing no signs of abating.
This time the row is on why BJP State President Kummanam Rajasekharan took a ride on the metro with Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the inaugural function. Kummanan’s name was not in the list of dignitaries who were supposed to be part of the inaugural event.
Minister for Tourism and Cooperation, Kadakampally Surendran has (sarcastically) called this a security lapse and has demanded an investigation into it.
The minister, in a statement, asked how a person who was not on the list of dignitaries managed to enter the metro train and sat near the Prime Minister.
Kummanam had taken the metro ride along with the Prime Minister, CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor Sathasivam, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu and Metroman E Sreedharan.
Kadakampally Surendran said that the Special Protection Group, who was in charge of the Prime Minister’s security, should investigate the ‘lapse’.
However, a metro official told The News Minute that Kummanam had been given permission by the Prime Minister office.
Kadakampally Surendran also criticised the presence of Rajasekharan saying that someone who was not even a Panchayat member was allowed to be part of the PM’s official function. “It has to be noted that Metro man E Sreedharan and opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had been excluded from the initial list of guests. The 'infringement' should be viewed along with the fact E Sreedharan, Governor and the Opposition Leader were not allowed to speak at the function even after repeated demands. Local legislator PT Thomas was also not included in the list. This is a security lapse. This is not the first time that the Prime minister visited state. No such incidents have happened in the PM's previous visits,” he said.
“This person (Kummanam Rajasekharan) was present at another function I had attended recently. He had no reason to be there. I am not raising this due to differences in political views. Protocol and security criteria should be followed strictly. Those who violate that insult the administrative system of the country," the statement read.
However, Kummanam lashed out at Kadakampally Surendran and said that his name had been there on the list. "It is the PMO that decides who accompanies the PM. I was informed that I would be travelling in the metro. This list was available with top cops and the CM, who is also the state's Home Minister. I was also provided a state car to travel in the PM's convoy from the airport till his return," Kummanam said in a statement.
The initial exclusion of E Sreedharan and Ramesh Chennithala from the list of guests, sent by the Prime Minister office, had become a huge controversy. The Chief Minister then wrote to the PM’s office and the decision was revoked.
Kummanam has become the centre of jokes with many memes popping up about him.
(Even it means nothing, you should be in all the frames)