Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress on Sunday hit out at the SNDP for first inviting and then excluding Chief Minister Oomen Chandy from a function on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend.
Both the Congress and the Left suspect a “communal agenda” behind the exclusion of Chandy from the event being organised by SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellapalli Natesan.
SNDP Yogam is an association of the backward Ezhava community. Natesan last week floated a new political party, which is set to ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The BJP said protocols were not required to be observed at the “private function”.
Modi will fly to Kollam to unveil the statue of the late R. Sankar, who was a Congress leader, a former chief minister and a leader of Sree Narayana Dhama Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam.
State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran blames the PMO for inflicting “shame to the state of Kerala”.
“One will have to find out if the PMO had a role in this episode. Also a communal agenda cannot be ignored as this is a shame to the state of Kerala when its CM has been asked to stay away,” Sudheeran told reporters here on Sunday.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in Delhi that excluding the chief minister was an insult to the constitution.
Marxist leader and former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan said Natesan was trying to erect the statue of an ‘RSS Sankar’ in Kollam.
M.A. Baby, another leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, said the chief minister’s soft response to the SNDP reflected his incapacity to stand up to Sangh Parivar.
Chandy said on Saturday that while protocol required his presence at a function attended by the prime minister, he was not taking part because “the organisers who invited me requested me to stay away”.
State BJP president V. Muraleedharan said it was a private function where protocols were not required to be observed.
“The official function is at the airport at Kochi when the PM arrives and protocols are followed there. The governor and chief minister will receive the PM.
“The Kollam programme, according to me, is a private function. As to why the chief minister is being kept out has to be answered by the organisers,” said Muraleedharan.
Modi is scheduled to arrive in Kerala on Monday for his maiden visit as prime minister.
Meanwhile, local legislator and CPI-M leader P.K. Gurudasan, who was invited to the function, has decided not to take part in it.