Controversy takes away the sheen of PM’s visit to Kerala

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The first visit of Narendra Modi to the state of Kerala after becoming the Prime Minister of the country has already mired in a sea of protest from both the ruling front as well as opposition over the exclusion of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy from the unveiling ceremony of former CM R Sankar’s statue.Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was supposed to preside over the function that will take place on December 15. PM Modi will embark on a two day visit to the state from Monday onwards.
The state has already seen leaders from both the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Left Democratic Front (LDF) coming together against the decision of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, an organization of backward Ezhava community, to keep off Oommen Chandy from the programme. Leaders like N K Premachandran MP from ruling UDF, P K Gurudasan MLA and Kollam Mayor Adv V Rajendra Babu from CPM have issued separate statements that they will not take part in the programme. It is also learnt that the son and daughter of late R Sankar
is likely to take part in the programme.
P K Gurudasan MLA said in a statement that he will not take part in the programme even though he was officially invited for the programme by SNDP. “SNDP and Vellappally surrendered to the dictums of RSS and BJP and the decision to exclude Ommen Chandy from the programme is anti democratic and purely dictatorial”, said Mr Gurudasan.
Mohan Sankar, son of late R Sankar and president of SNDP Kollam, told Tehelka that he is saddened by the way which his father’s name has been dragged into a controversy after 43 years of his demise. He also said that he would take a decision whether to take part in the programme after consulting it with his sister who is living in Thiruvanathapuram by Monday evening.
It was CM Chandy in a press note revealed the other day that SNDP leader Vellappally Natesan asked him to abstain from the programme as certain section had sought the removal of CM in the function that is slated as a private programme of the SNDP. Soon after the press note hit the channels, the leaders of the Congress and CPM blamed it on BJP for conniving with Mr Natesan in the removal of Oommen Chandy.
While explaining his stand on the issue, Mr Vellappally, the other day, said that the Congress leaders have no right to shed tears for Sankar. The statue that SNDP Yogam is going to be unveiled in Kollam is not that of Congress leader R Sankar, but of SNDP leader R Sankar. “During his political tenure as a Congress leader, the state leaders of the Congress party tried not only unseat him as CM but to destroy him too .
He also added that he alone should be blamed for the exclusion of CM and ‘the reasons behind it will be revealed on 16’. Mr Natesan has been in the news for a while for all unwanted reasons. The ‘Sammathwa Munnetta Yatra’ he took for a comprehensive Hindu unity in the state saw enough turns and twists with the leader was booked for inciting
communal sentiments during the yatra. The party, Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), formation too saw Mr Natesan throwing abusive words, purposefully to incite controversy, on the opposition leader and KPCC president V M Sudheeran.
KPCC president V M Sudheeran said that this was a concerted effort from the BJP and RSS to misappropriate the legacy of R Sankar and trying to turn him a Hindu leader. He added that that Mr Natesan has become a pawn
in the hands of RSS and BJP for this. KPCC has planned a prayer session in front of the former CM’s statue in Thiruvananathapuram in protest against the alleged discrimination of the SNDP. The prayer will take place at the same time Modi unveils the statue on Tuesday at Sree Narayana College in Kollam.
Late Mr R Sankar was a Congress leader and served as chief minister of the state from 1962-64. A visionary leader, he also was the general secretary of SNDP yogam.
The irony is that chief minister Oommen Chandy had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take part in the unveiling of the statue last year December as per the request of Vellappally Natesan. Then, the SNDP leader had not finalized any aims to enter into politics and owning a party.