Days after the country’s third-highest civilian honour was bestowed on former scientist of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Nambi Narayanan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday took credit for the same and castigated leaders of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala for damaging national interest to settle their own political scores.
Addressing a public rally at the final day of the state convention of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) here, the Prime Minister said, “A few decades ago, a hardworking and patriotic ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan was implicated in a fake case just because a few UDF leaders were settling political scores. Imagine, for their own politics, they damaged national interest and troubled a scientist. It is an honour that our government had the opportunity to confer a Padma award on Nambi Narayanan. We value each and every person who’s working to make India stronger.”
Narayanan, who was implicated in a fabricated case in 1994 and accused of selling state secrets only to be later acquitted by the Supreme Court, was conferred the Padma Bhushan by the Narendra Modi government last week for his achievements in the field of science and technology. Narayanan was the director of cryogenic project at the ISRO when he was embroiled in the spy case. The apex court last year had ordered the Kerala government to give Rs 50 lakhs as compensation to him in the case. The ISRO spy case in the mid-90s had created major political upheaval in Kerala at the time and paved the way for the resignation of K Karunakaran, the then Congress chief minister.
On his second visit to Kerala in a fortnight, PM Modi took potshots at the ruling CPM-led government for ‘destroying the state’s cultural ethos’ over the Sabarimala row.
“The issue of the Sabarimala Temple has got the attention of the nation. People are seeing the manner in which the Communist government is disrespecting all aspects of our culture,” he said at the rally.
He added that the Congress and the Communists had no concern towards women empowerment. If they had, he alleged, they would not have opposed the Centre’s efforts to end the practice of triple talaq.
“Leaders of the CPM and the Congress talking about democracy is the century’s biggest joke. Political killings are happening in Kerala. Now this culture has spread to Madhya Pradesh where BJP workers are being killed. Many Congress leaders even today live with the mindset of the Emergency,” the PM said.
The Prime Minister had landed in Thrissur after inaugurating a slew of projects at the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) oil refinery in Kochi. Two weeks ago, he had inaugurated a 13-km bypass stretch in Kollam district and later kickstarted the party’s official election campaign in the state that day.