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Cong leaders resent Kerala minister’s meeting with Narendra Modi

John clarifies that he had only spoken on issues concerning skill development and training.

Written by PTI | Thiruvananthapuram | Published: April 20, 2013 3:51:11 pm

Labour Minister and RSP(B) leader Shibu Baby John has run into trouble over his recent meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,with leaders of Congress and its UDF allies taking exception to it,holding the BJP leader’s development model is unacceptable to Kerala.

With the issue becoming controversial,Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today sought an explanation from John,though the latter held that he had only spoken on issues concerning skill development and training during his meeting with Modi.

“I have sought a clarification from John. But I would like to make it clear that the Gujarat model of development is not at all acceptable to Kerala,” Chandy said.

Joining issue,CPI(M) veteran and Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan said it was difficult to believe that John had met Modi without Chandy’s knowledge.

Sources close to Achuthanandan also said the CPI(M) leader might stay away from a function next week at Sree Narayana Mutt at nearby Varkala,where Modi is chief guest.

Though initially he sought to play down the row holding that the meeting had no political dimension,John later said he should have avoided it.

“I only sought to know Gujarat’s model in skill development and training when I met Modi. This is part of my department. I first met the Labour Minister there (in Ahmedabad) and he suggested I meet Modi also,saying he has been in overall charge of the state,” John told reporters here.

What apparently annoyed Congress and UDF leaders is that the meeting took place when BJP is thinking of projecting Modi as NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate to take on UPA in the next Lok Sabha polls.

When his reaction was sought,senior Congress leader and Union Minister Vayalar Ravi said the Gujarat model was not acceptable to Kerala. “I don’t think there is any area of development for which Kerala should take Gujarat as a model,” Ravi said.

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