New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) The government had no hand in taking back the invite to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from an event which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
Congress members in the Lok Sabha alleged that the chief minister’s name was deleted from the list of invitees to the function in Kollam in Kerala being organised by the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma alleged that there was pressure from the central government against the invitation to Chandy.
The function will see Modi unveiling a statue of late R. Sankar, who was a Congress chief minister of Kerala and a leader of the SNDP.
“The allegation is completely baseless,” Rajnath Singh said, referring to the charge that the government was responsible for the development.
He said the SNDP was a social organisation and it was its decision to invite or not invite somebody to the function.
“The SNDP must have invited the chief minister also for the function but later, after some controversy erupted among its members, it decided not to call him for the same,” he said.
“Our government does not want any confrontation with any state government. In fact, it is taking steps to strengthen federalism,” added the minister.
Congress members, however, kept shouting that this was done intentionally to humiliate the chief minister and the people of Kerala and walked out of the house after the minister’s statement.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, minister of state for parliamentary affairs, also refuted the Congress charge that the PMO was involved in having Chandy “disinvited” from the function.
He said Chandy himself wrote to the programme organisers citing his unavailability for the function. He read out the letter.
Earlier, the Lok Sabha witnessed uproar during question hour and was adjourned till noon.
The row erupted after the SNDP, an organisation of backward Ezhava community, allegedly decided to exclude Chandy from the function — after initially inviting him.
Sharma later said the SNDP general secretary conveyed to Chandy that there was pressure about his presiding over the funtion. “Clearly the pressure was from here,” Sharma said.
He said the chief minister was called by the officer on special duty to the prime minister and was asked if he could confirm the information that he was recusing himself and will not preside over the function.
“Oommen Chandy confirmed that that he has been spoken to and he will not then come for the function,” Shamra said.
“What has been said subsequently by the BJP, I have been told, that there is a letter which they have released? This letter is subsequent to that conversation. The conversation was started by the PMO,” he said.
Sharma said there have been complaints about chief ministers of Bihar and Delhi not being invited to important events related to the central government and alleged that the Modi government was not showing proper respect for constitutional framework while dealing with the states.
–Indo-Asian News Swrvice