Kerala CM says PMO failed to intervene to avoid row

Kerala CM says PMO failed to intervene to avoid row
Amid the political row over his exclusion from a function attended by Narendra Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today shot off a letter to the Prime Minister, virtually blaming the PMO for not avoiding the controversy.

In a letter to Modi, he also charged Union Ministers Rajnath Sigh and Rajiv Pratap Ruddy with 'misleading' Parliament on the matter without verifying the facts from him or the CM's Office.

"All political parties except BJP and media have said that this (excluding from the function) is an insult to the people of Kerala. Usually I keep away from controversies, and it is surprising that PMO hasn't intervened to avoid controversies," Chandy said.

"I wish to know what would have been your reaction if such an incident happened in Gujarat while you were the Chief Minister," he said, adding that he was sending the letter to convey the "truth and clear any misunderstanding".

Explaining the circumstances that led to his absence from the programme at Kollam yesterday to unveil the statue of late chief minister R Sankar by Modi, Chandy said "it was unfortunate that Rajnath Singh and Rajiv Pratap Rudy had misled Parliment while replying to an adjournment motion on the matter.

"State Protocol office had never said that my absence is due to my inconvenience as stated by Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Parliament," Chandy said.

He also said he was invited for the unveiling ceremony by Vellappally Natesan, chief organiser of the function and General Secretary of SNDP Yogam, and he had readily agreed and accepted the invitation.

"Notice and plaque for the function was prepared showing the meeting will be presided over by me," he said.

However, on the evening of December 11, Natesan informed him through state minister K Babu that intelligence agencies have told him that there will be some protest in the meeting if the Chief Minister attend the function.

"I verified with the State Police intelligence and they were not aware of any such report from any intelligence agency," Chandy said his letter.

Again on December 12, Natesan conveyed to him to keep away from the function, Chandy said adding "I have no option other than to abide by his request.

"When PMO contacted me over phone, I had conveyed this personally. And on December 12 by 1 PM my office issued a press release showing that I will not be attending the Kollam programme as requested by organisers.

"In the evening by 5 PM, in reply to repeated queries from PMO, our State Protocol informed PMO that I will not be attending the Kollam programme," he said.

It had never said that "my absence is due to my inconvenience as said by Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Parliament," Chandy added.

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