Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi fires the first salvo, by accusing Modi of insulting the people of Kerala over a function to which Chandy has not been invited. He said this hours before the Prime Minister was to leave for Kerala.
“Modi has insulted people of Kerala by stopping Chandy from attending the function to unveil the Congress leader and former CM R Sankar’s statue at Kollam. This is not acceptable to the Congress,” said Gandhi.
A furious Chandy will skip the function and will communicate his decision to Modi when he receives him in Kochi. PM Modi will be in Kerala for two days, said party sources.
The Congress described it as an attempt to usurp another Congress icon after stealing Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Interestingly, it was Chandy who invited the PM on Vellapally Natesan general secretary, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam’s request to unveil the statue, added the Congress.
Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam belongs to the Ezhava community. Its leader Vellapally Natesan apparently told Chandy that his presence at the unveiling of R Sankar’s statue, was opposed by “some groups”.
The BJP, to save face, stated as it was a private event and official protocol does not apply. B Murlidharan, state BJP leader, said, “We have no role. It is entirely a private function.”
To keep the issue boiling hot, M Sudheeran of the Congress said, “It is a shame that the Kerala CM has been asked to stay away from a function. Directly targeting the PMO, he said, “One will have to find out if the PMO had a role in this episode.”
While talking to the media during a Congress outside Parliament House over the law and order situation, Gandhi claimed RSS workers had stopped him from entering a temple in Barpeta during his recent Assam visit. “This BJP’s style of politics, is unacceptable,” he added.
“They made a woman there stand in front of me and told me that I cannot enter into the temple,” he said. “Who are they to stop me,” asked a furious Gandhi.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi had said that BJP and RSS activists had plotted not to allow Gandhi from entering Barpeta Satra.