Chandy's exclusion from PM event triggers row

Opposition parties staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha

Chandy's exclusion from PM event triggers row

The Congress on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of forcing Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to withdraw from a public function in Kollam, a charge strongly refuted by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Dissatisfied with the Centre’s reply, leaders of the Congress, NCP, Trinamool, Left, RJD and JD(U) staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Congress member K C Venugopal said the PMO or the prime minister had a role in the withdrawal of invitation to Chandy by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam at a function to unveil the statue of former Kerala chief minister R Sankar.

Venugopal also rejected the SNDP claim that the function at Kollam on Tuesday, which would be attended by Modi, was a private affair. “The sitting MP, the MLA and corporation mayor, all are invited. How can it be a private function? It was never intended to be a private function,” he said.

SNDP represents the dominant Ezhava community in Kerala. A political outfit floated by SNDP plans to join hands with the BJP for the assembly elections next year.

The Congress leader accused Modi of misusing his constitutional position for extracting “political vendetta”. “This is against cooperative federalism. The prime minister, like always, is silent,” Venugopal said insisting that Modi should respond to the controversy. Rejecting allegations levelled by Venugopal, Rajnath Singh said as per information received by him the SNDP had decided to withdraw the invitation extended to the Kerala chief minister after an “internal row” within the organisation.

“Who is invited and who is not is a decision for the SNDP to take and the government has nothing to do with it,” Singh said. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, said the Kerala chief minister had written a letter to the prime minister expressing his inability to attend the function.

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