National Anthem not rendered at PM''s Kochi function

Kochi, Feb 11 (PTI) BJP today took exception to thenational anthem not being played at a function attended byPrime Minister Manmohan Singh to commission the first phase ofthe International Container Trans-shipment Terminal atVallarpadam, near here.

Neither was the traditional lamp lit nor the nationalanthem rendered and "the people concerned should explainthis," BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters here.

Sources in the Cochin Port Trust, which organised today''sfunction, said the programme had been cut short as Singh, hadto leave for Thiruvananthapuram.

The inaugural function of the first phase of the over Rs3,200 crore terminal under the Cochin Port expansion project,lasted only 40 minutes and the national anthem was notplanned, they said.

They also pointed out there was no compulsion that thenational anthem should be played at the Prime Minister''sfunction. Only in the functions attended by the President, thenational anthem has to be rendered, the sources said,adding even the vote of thanks was dispensed with.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Minister S Sharma and TransportMinister Jose Thettayil alleged that the state government wasnot given the due importance at the function.

The state ministers were not allowed to sit on the stagewhile only Central ministers were allowed along with KeralaGovernor, R S Gavai, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and UAEMinister of Foreign Trade Sheika Lubna Al Qasimi.

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