A day after Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda was booed at a function attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress Wednesday advised its chief ministers — as well as those from other opposition parties — to exercise caution and, if possible, avoid public functions with the PM as it believes hooting of chief ministers by crowds at such events were engineered. The party said there was a “pattern” and a “design” behind such incidents as they have happened with CMs of states heading for Assembly polls
Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said he would not attend inauguration of the Nagpur metro rail project by Modi on Thursday. Chavan, who was booed at a recent function at Solapur, cited the “possibility of ruckus by BJP workers” as one of the reasons.
Hooda has already announced that he would not attend any function with the Prime Minister from now on.
AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmad said the hooting was being done in a planned way to humiliate the CMs. “It happened with Omar Abdullah, then Prithviraj Chavan in Maharashtra and now Hooda in Haryana. All these are poll-bound states,” he told The Indian Express. He said “all self-respecting chief ministers of the opposition” should avoid political functions of Modi, “which are being held in the name of public functions”.
Sources said Congress also warned Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren about possible repeat of the Haryana incident on the eve of Modi’s visit to the state. They added that the sense in the party was that CMs should follow only minimum protocol during the Prime Minister’s visit like receiving him at the airport or participating in official meetings. A senior Congress leader recalled that many BJP leaders faced hooting during Modi’s election campaign tour.
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Hooda was booed at the inauguration of the 166-km-long four lane highway project on Kaithal-Rajasthan border. “This has happened both in Haryana and Maharashtra. Party cadre are called to embarrass chief ministers of other parties deliberately,” Ahmad said.
Citing reasons behind his decision to skip the Nagpur function, Chavan said, “No invitation letter was received from Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, no communication received on whether the project has received approval of the Union Cabinet and the possibility of ruckus by BJP workers as it happened to Haryana CM Hooda the other day.” It was only later on Wednesday that he got the invite. He was also critical of Modi’s jibe at him in Solapur. “He asked me why I didn’t seek coal from the UPA government for power projects. Is this the way to say things?” Chavan said.