Paving the way for a possible tussle between the Kerala government and the Centre, the Ministry of External Affairs has reportedly denied permission to a Kerala Minister to visit China.
Kerala's Tourism and Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who was scheduled to attend a meeting at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) at Chengdu in China, was reportedly denied permission by the MEA.
The Minister had sought permission and a diplomatic passport to attend the event being held from September 11 to September 16.
The Ministry of External Affairs has however, not given a reason for shooting down the Minister's request.
Minister Kadakampally has expressed his displeasure at the unexpected development. Speaking to Asianet News over the phone, the state Tourism Minister said that he was at a loss as to why the Centre has denied him permission. He had reportedly sought the diplomatic passport in the second week of August.
"I don't understand what the problem is. WTO general assembly is happening and they have extended a special invitation to the state of Kerala, that's why we wanted to participate in it. Attending the meeting would be highly beneficial to the state of Kerala, in our initiatives on responsible tourism," the Minister said.
Kadakampally accused the BJP-led Union Government of being "shallow-hearted and playing petty politics."
"It’s a BJP government at the Centre, what more could one expect? How can they be so shallow-hearted and play petty politics? You should ask the Prime Minister this," the Minister said.
Taking a dig at PM Narendra Modi, who has many a time come under criticism for his extensive foreign travels in order to strengthen diplomatic ties, Kadakampally said, "After all, I did not ask permission to go for a tour and see places. It's a prestigious event and that's exactly why I asked for a diplomatic passport."
Minister Kadakampally said that he would apprise Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about the matter and urge him to write to the PM.
"Let the PM be told what his ministry has done to the state of Kerala," the Minister said.
The Minister added that with China being a growing market place for goods from Kerala and vice-versa, taking part in the meeting would have increased the tourism prospects of the state.