Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of insulting the people of Kerala by “stopping” chief minister Oommen Chandy from attending a function in the state.
“The chief minister is the voice of the people of Kerala. This is simply not acceptable to us,” he told reporters outside Parliament.
Gandhi was referring to a controversy over CM Chandy being asked by organisers not to attend a function where PM Modi is going to inaugurate a statue of R Sankar, a former chief minister and Congress leader.
The chief organiser of the event is Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) -- an organisation representing the backward Ezhavas -- whose general secretary Vellapalli Natesan is BJP’s latest ally in Kerala.
The allegation comes just hours before Modi begins a two-day visit to the state during which he will attend functions organised by the SNDP yogam.
After the Congress raised the issue in the House, home minister Rajnath Singh clarified it was a “private function” and that it was up to the organisers to invite whom they like.
Minister of state Rajiv Pratap Rudy added that Chandy himself had written to the organisers expressing his unwillingness to attend the meeting.
Chandy was reportedly informed by the organisers a few days before the function that he need not attend, following which the plaque which carried his name was removed.
“I felt extremely sad when I was told not to attend the function by the organisers who invited me to the event,” Chandy said.
Though the BJP insists it is a private function, the Congress is hoping to corner it over the issue, and will observe a prayer meeting in the state capital blaming the prime minister for “slighting the state”.