Modi on first Kerala visit as PM amid row over snub to Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake his first visit to Kerala from Monday which is already in controversy after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he was being kept away from a function where the PM will be present by an outfit of Hindu Ezhava community.

The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Combined Tri services commanders conference at INS Vikramaditya, the largest aircraft carrier of the country, on Tuesday.

Modi on first Kerala visit as PM

Later, Modi will be attending two functions close to the backward Ezhava community, apparently in an effort to woo them with assembly polls expected early next year. Modi will unveil the statue of former Kerala Chief Minister late R Sankar, a well known leader of the Ezhava community, who had headed the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) and the Kerala PCC.

However, the programme has run into controversy with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy allegedly being asked to stay away by SNDP General Secretary Vellapally Natesan. Chandy himself in a press note had brought up the issue saying he would not be attending the function as Natesan had requested him not to attend and was "deeply saddened".

Natesan has not stated the reason for asking Chandy to keep away from the function. Chandy has already informed Prime Minister's office that he would not be attending the function. Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi described the action as pettiness of the worst kind and wanted that Prime Minister should himself refuse to go to the function.

"It is an insult of the Constitutional position of a Chief Minister. PM should respond ....and should even refuse to go himself (to the function) as the deceased former Chief Minister of Kerala and also the current one have been insulted by this petty act," Singhvi said. When asked if the Congress could raise the matter in the Parliament, Singhvi said "we have all options open."

Soon after his arrival at Kochi, his first to the state after assuming office as Prime Minister in May last year, by a special airforce flight by 4.10 PM at the INS Garuda naval air station, he will leave by helicopter for Thrissur to address a public meeting of BJP workers at 5 PM. After the meeting, Modi will return to Kochi and stay there, a government press release said. On December 15, the Prime Minister will receive a tri service guard of honour at INS Garuda and inaugurate the Combined Tri services commanders conference.

Modi will also be visiting the Sivagiri mutt and pay homage at the samadhi of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru and offer floral tributes and plant a sapling. He will then move to Vaidika Mutt, where Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore had met the Guru 90 years ago.

He will also be planting a tree sapling, Swami Sachidananda, General coordinator of the Prime Minister's visit said. A large plaque of 'Daiva Dasakam', inscribed in Malayalam along with its English translation, will be unveiled by Modi. He will then proceed to Sarada mutt in the Sivagiri campus and address the public for a few minutes. Modi will then return to Delhi via Thiruvananthapuram airport by 5.15 PM in a special Airforce flight.


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