Kerala leaders say no to sharing stage with Modi

Thiruvananthapuram, April 24 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who arrives here Wednesday, seems quite the persona non grata in Kerala with sections of both the ruling Congress-led front and the opposition Left refusing to share the stage with him.

On Wednesday, Left leader and former minister N.K. Premachandran, and Kerala State Women’s Commission chairperson K.C. Rosakutty, a former Congress legislator, turned down an invitation to take part in an event at the Sivagiri Mutt, which is to be attended by Modi.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader, widely perceived to be the party’s prime ministerial candidate in the next general elections, is travelling to Kerala to take part in the Sivagiri Mutt’s silver jubilee celebrations.

The first one to say no to a programme at the Mutt was veteran Left leader and former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.

The Mutt is the headquarters of the Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham, established by Sree Narayana Guru who propagated the concept of ‘One Caste, One Religion, One God’.

Modi is scheduled to arrive here Wednesday evening and drive to the Mutt, about 45 km from here. He is slated to return around 7 p.m.

State Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan has said that all routine protocol for a visiting chief minister would be in place.

“The top-most security cover would be provided as security is the subject of the state government. The Kerala police would be in full force,” said Radhakrishnan.

Kerala Labour Minister Shibu Baby John of the RSP (B), an ally of the ruling Congress here, had a tough time recently after reports surfaced that he had met Modi in Gujarat last week.

John came under heavy fire from both the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) that demanded his resignation.

He then explained to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that his visit was aimed at just finding out about the functioning of the National Institute of Design. Chandy accepted the reasoning and cleared him.

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