L’affaire Chandy rocks Parliament

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 14, 2015

Rahul Gandhi Congress Vice-President

The alleged cancellation of invitation to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at a function to unveil the statue of former Kerala chief minister R Sankar by Prime Minister Narendra Modi disrupted the proceedings of Parliament here on Monday. Both the Congress and the Left parties raised the matter in Parliament and said the Centre insulted people of Kerala by such a move. In Lok Sabha, Opposition members walked out of the House protesting against the Centre.

The Congress said the decision exposed the Narendra Modi government’s anti-federal character. “What happened then that the organisers conveyed to the Chief Minister – after the Chief Minister had accepted, invitation cards were printed, programme was issued, Chief Minister to preside – to withdraw because they were under pressure. Then, there was a call made by Officer on Special Duty to the Prime Minister directly to the Chief Minister saying ‘that it has now been conveyed to us that you have agreed to withdraw from the function, is that correct?” asked Deputy Leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quick to retort. He said the decision to invite or not to invite Chandy was taken by the organisers. “A private organisation, the SNDP invites the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. There is a case registered against the Secretary General of that organisation by the State Government. They get angry. They withdraw the invitation to the Chief Minister. How is the Government of India responsible?” Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the controversy was baseless. “The controversy over the invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for SNDP function is needless and based on presumptions and assumption. SNDP is a social organisation and extending invitations to individuals or dignitaries is its own decision and discretion,” Singh said in a statement.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also questioned the government’s intentions. “Chief Minister of Kerala represents the people of Kerala. Chief Minister of Kerala is the voice of the people of Kerala and the Prime Minister had insulted that voice. This is simply not acceptable to us,” he told reporters adding that Modi has stopped Chandy from attending the function to unveil the statue of a former Congress leader.

He added that he was stopped by BJP workers from entering a temple in Assam. “When I went to Assam I wanted to visit a temple in Barpeta district. And at the temple the RSS people they stopped me entering the temple. This is the way the BJP operates. They made the woman there stand in front of me and told me that I cannot enter into the temple. Who are they to stop me?” he asked.

The BJP responded to this charge by terming it as a blatant lie. “Rahul Gandhi claims he was stopped by RSS from entering an Assam temple. What Gandhi says is fabricated and a lie,” Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Published on December 14, 2015
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