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Irked Oommen Chandy retaliates against Modi's comparing Kerala with Somalia

By Ians

Thiruvananthapuram, May 10: Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to bring "disrepute" to the his office, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday told him not to compare Kerala with Somalia.

Assembly Polls 2016 Coverage; Kerala poll results: 1952-2011

In a hard-hitting letter to Modi, Chandy decried certain observations by Modi at election rallies in the state. [LDF will return, NDA unlikely to get 1 seat, says IMEG survey]

oommen chandy

"You made statements that had nothing to do with reality and likened Kerala to Somalia. This is unbecoming of a prime minister and has created a great deal of agony," he said.

"You spoke of a Kerala boy eating from a waste dump at Peravoor (in Kannur district). Two probes on this were done and the truth was far from what you said."

"I can assure you that no child in Kerala takes stale food. In Kerala, 25.02 lakh schoolstudents are provided with free midday meal, and egg on one day and milk on another day in a week," he said.

"For five years, Kerala had been providing rice at one rupee to 94 lakh people. Now, this was being given free of cost, making us the second state in India to do so. ... The facts being so, what was your motive behind saying such a blatant lie to the people of Kerala?"

The chief minister said Kerala's human resource had caught the attention of the world.

"Yet, you compared Kerala to Somalia that is reeling under poverty and internal strife. Is it not a shame for the prime minister to pronounce that a state like Somalia exists in the country?" asked Chandy.

Chandy also took on Modi on the issue of political violence and murders in Kerala.

He pointed out that he had urged the Modi government to ask the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the murder of former Communism Party of India (Marxist) leader TP Chandrasekharan but this had not been conceded.

Chandy also refuted Modi's allegation that there was a "solar scam" in Kerala, asking why did he then praise the use of solar power at the Kochi International Airport while speaking in California recently.

"I wonder whether it befits a prime minister to feel disgraced during the time of elections and proud on other occasions?" asked Chandy.

Chandy said Modi claimed in his speeches that Kerala had a special place in his heart.

"If that is the case, then you could have been sincere with your statements on Kerala. ... The high office of the prime minister has been graced by stalwarts from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh," he said.

"With a great deal of regret, let me point out that they never attempted anything that brought disrepute to the office of the prime minister like you have done," he said, and asked him to withdraw his comments.

Modi is reaching Kerala for a third time on Wednesday (May 11) to address election rallies. The last day for campaigning for the May 16 election in the state is May 14. The results will be declared on May 19.


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