THE CONTROVERSY over the Prime Minister’s remarks likening Kerala to Somalia refused to die down on Thursday, with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy stating that the state government was mulling moving the Election Commission and taking legal action against Modi. The opposition CPM also flayed the Prime Minister for not withdrawing his comment.
Addressing a press conference in Kochi, the chief minister said that he had expected a clarification from the Prime Minister. “We condemn this. This is an insult to the people of Kerala. We were expecting a clarification, apology from the PM, but he didn’t give any,” Chandy said.
Chandy had earlier written a hard-hitting letter to the Prime Minister and requested him to show some ‘political decency’ by withdrawing the statement as they are ‘baseless and contrary to ground realities’. “This is unbecoming of a prime minister and has created a great deal of agony and protest,” he said while referring to the statement.
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The opposition CPM also kept up the pressure on the Prime Minister, saying the situation in the state did not become like the African country as the BJP had never come to power here. “Modi’s statement would result in a setback to BJP in the ensuing polls as it has insulted the people of the state,” CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said.
He also termed the “Gujarat Model” of development projected by the BJP as being false propaganda.
“It was the first communist government formed in 1957 that laid the foundation for the development path of Kerala with its policy on land reforms, education, health and also in other sectors,” Balakrishnan said.
The CPM leader also said that wherever Modi has led the poll campaign as Prime Minister, the BJP has suffered defeats. “In Kerala too, the same thing is going to happen. BJP is not going to open its account in the state this time as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan alleged that Balakrishnan himself had compared tribal-dominated Attappady region to Somalia in 2013 when high incidents of infant deaths were reported from there.
NDA candidate and tribal leader C K Janu also said there was nothing wrong in the Prime Minister’s statement. Modi should come to Wayanad district in Kerala to realise that Somalia-like situation in Kerala, she said.
Modi had compared the infant mortality rate among tribals in the state with that of Somalia during the poll campaign rally earlier this week. It triggered widespread criticism among political parties in Kerala. Social media had also witnessed campaigns with hashtag #PoMoneModi (Go Off Modi) mocking at the Prime Minister over his comparison.