The family of the former Kerala chief minister, whose statue is to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has said they will stay away from the function protesting “attempts to saffronise” it.
Former chief minister R Sankar’s son Mohan said on Tuesday that he and his sister Sasikumari will not attend the function to be held in Kollam later in the day where Modi is the chief guest.
“Any attempts to move him ( Sankar) to the BJP camp will not be allowed. That is an insult. He was hundred percent a Gandhian”, the Mathrubhoomi daily quoted Mohan as saying.
Mohan was also upset over an article in the BJP mouthpiece Janmabhoomi which according to him tried to portray the late Congress leader as an RSS camp follower.
“There is an RSS agenda behind this. I am hurt,” he said.
This is the second embarrassment for the BJP, after the uproar in Parliament over the organiser asking chief minister Oommen Chandy to stay away from the function.
The organiser of the event is the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP)-- an organisation representing the Ezhava community-- whose present general secretary Vellapalli Natesan is the BJP’s latest ally in Kerala.
The matter was raised in Parliament with the Congress calling it “an insult to the people of Kerala.”
Sankar, who was the chief minister of Kerala from 1962-64, was also a Congress state president and an active leader of the SNDP Yogam. His son Mohan is not active in politics.