Thiruvananthapuram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi owes an apology, not silence, to Kerala for comparing the state with Somalia, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Thursday.
“Modi left Kochi last night without withdrawing his remarks. Malayalees all over the world are upset over the remarks of the PM,” Chandy said in a Facebook post.
He was referring to the prime minister’s remarks made at election rallies he addressed for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“With the pride of the Malayalees deeply affected, none expected silence from PM. Instead what all thought was he would withdraw the statements and apologize. Keralites continue to expect that the PM would apologise,” said Chandy.
Modi said on Sunday that “the child death ratio among Scheduled Tribes in Kerala is scarier than even Somalia” – provoking protests across the state.
Modi also cited media reports that said tribal children in Peravoor were seen foraging for food in a garbage dump to make his case that the state had not been properly governed.
Chandy said Modi’s comparison of Kerala, whose high social indicators are widely acknowledged, with Somalia was absurd.
After the protests, Modi was expected to retract his statement and apologize but he did not, Chandy said.
On Wednesday, Modi continued his attack on Kerala’s Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), without responding to criticism over his controversial remarks.
Chandy earlier wrote to Modi urging him not to bring “disrepute” to the Prime Minister’s Office by airing “baseless remarks” about Kerala.
The BJP, which has never won an assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, has been making a valiant attempt to defend Modi.