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"Rajnath, Rudy misled Parliament on my absence at Kollam function": Chandy
Thiruvananthapuram, December 16, 2015
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has accused Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Rajiv Pratap Rudy of misleading Parliament on the issue of his absence at a function attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kollam, near here, on Tuesday.
In a letter to Mr. Modi, dated December 15, Mr. Chandy apologised for the controversy over his absence at the unveiling of the statue of former state Chief Minister R. Shanker.
“It is also unfortunate that Union Ministers Mr Rajnath Singh and Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy have misled the Parliament in their reply to the adjournment motion in the house without even verifying the facts from myself or my office,” he said.
“I was invited for the unveiling ceremony of the statue of Shri R Shanker by Shri Vellappally Nadesan, chief organiser of the function and General Secretary of SNDP Yogam and I readily agreed and accepted the invitation,” he added.
Mr Chandy said the notice and the plaque for the function was prepared showing the meeting would be presided over by the Chief Minister.
“On 11th evening, Mr Vellappally Nadesan informed me through Mr K Babu, Minister that intelligence agencies have informed him that there will be some protest in the meeting if I attend the function.
“I verified with the State Police intelligence and they were not aware of any such report from any intelligence agency,” he added.
The Chief Minister, in the letter, said Mr Natesan on December 12 again conveyed to him that he should keep away from the function and that he had no option other than to abide by his request.
“When PMO contacted me over phone, I had conveyed this personally. And on 12th by 1PM my office issued a press release showing that I will not be attending the Kollam programme as requested by organisers.
“In the evening by 5PM, in reply to repeated queries from PMO, our State Protocol informed PMO that I will not be attending the Kollam programme. It had never said that my absence is due to my inconvenience as said by Mr Rajiv Pratap Rudy in Parliament, ” Mr Chandy said.
“I don’t know why the organisers had withdrawn the invitation extended to me in which I am obliged to attend as Chief Minister and it is the first public programme of the Prime Minister in his first visit to Kerala.
“Later the organisers said that it is a private function and they have the right to invite or not to invite guests. I fully agree with that. But after inviting me and including my name in the notice and plaque of the progarmme, Mr Vellappally Nadesan was forced to withdraw the invitation due to unknown reasons," the Chief Minister said.
All political parties except BJP and media have said that this is an insult to the people of Kerala, he added.
“Usually, I keep away from controversies, and it is surprising that PMO hasn’t intervened to avoid controversies. I wish to know what would have been your reaction if such an incident happened in Gujarat while you were the Chief Minister," Mr Chandy said.
He concluded by saying that he was sending the letter “to convey the truth and clear any misunderstanding.”
The controversy led to the state leadership of the Congress boycotting the function, including Minister-in-waiting for the Prime Minister K P Mohanan, who preferred to remain seated in the helicopter till the Prime Minister returned after the hour-long function.