The central government had no hand in taking back the invite to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from an event which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.
Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha alleged that the chief minister’s name was deleted from the list of invitees to the function in Kollam in Kerala being organised by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam.
The function will see Modi unveiling a statue of the late R. Sankar, who was a Congress chief minister of Kerala and a leader of SNDP.
“The allegation is completely baseless,” Rajnath Singh said, referring to charges that the central government was responsible for the development.
He said SNDP was a social organisation and it was its decision to invite or not invite somebody to the function.
“The SNDP must have invited the chief minister also for the function but later, after some controversy erupted among its members, it decided not to call him for the same,” he said.
“Our government does not want any confrontation with any state government. In fact, it is taking steps to strengthen federalism,” added the minister.
The Congress members, however, kept shouting that this was done intentionally to humiliate the chief minister and the people of Kerala and walked out of the house after the minister’s statement.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs, also refuted the Congress charge that the PMO was involved in having Chandy “disinvited” from the function.
He said Chandy himself wrote to the programme organisers citing his unavailability for the function. He read out the letter.
Earlier, the Lok Sabha witnessed uproar during question hour and was adjourned till noon.
The row erupted after SNDP, an organisation of backward Ezhava community, allegedly decided to exclude Chandy from the function — after initially inviting him.