A MEETING with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has spelt trouble for Kerala Labour Minister Shibu Baby John,who under pressure from Congress leaders,has regretted the visit,saying he should have been more careful.
John,who represents RSP(B) in the Congress-led United Democratic Front Government,met Modi in Gandhinagar last Thursday. Modis official website stated that Johns was a courtesy call and Modi had briefed the Kerala minister about skill development centres and proposed skill Development University.
Gujarat is a model for skill development. Only developmental issues came up for discussion. There is a plan to open a unit of Gujarats Centre for Entrepreneurship Development in Kerala. We are looking forward to such a venture with great expectation, John had said then.
After the visit triggered a controversy,Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that he has sought an explanation from the minister,flaying his cabinet colleagues attempt to project the Gujarat model of development.
The Indian Union Muslim League is the leading ally of the Congress in Kerala.
Congress state president Ramesh Chennithala also joined the issue,saying that his party would not allow anyone to implement the Modi model of development in Kerala. Congress does not support the Modi model development. He is fomenting communal sentiments. Neither Chandy nor I was aware of Johns meeting with Modi, said Chennithala.
Several Congress leaders,including Union minister Vayalar Ravi condemned the ministers meeting with Modi.
Unable to withstand the criticism,John on Saturday changed his stand. I feel it was wrong on my part to meet Narendra Modi. I had met him for the development of Kerala. The decision to meet Modi was personal and Chief Minister was not informed about it. I do not subscribe his politics. As a member of the UDF ministry,I should have been more careful. I am regretting the visit since it has become a controversy, said John.
BJP national secretary P K Krishnadas said what is wrong in a minister meeting a chief minister of another state. The Congress approach towards the issue is anti-democratic and a ludicrous attempt to win Muslim votes,he said.
In 2009,A P Abdullakutty,then a Member of Parliament,was thrown out from the CPM on charges of praising Modis Gujarat model of development. He had stood by his stand,even claiming that he had rejected Modis anti-minority stand.