Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused meet an all party delegation from the state which was supposed to apprise him about various issues. Making a statement in the state Assembly, he said the state had sought a meeting with the prime minister either on March 20 or 21 to submit a memorandum on various issues including cut in rice quota under PDS and seek financial aid to face the drought situation in the state. In response to the state’s request, the Prime Minister’s Office has informed about the “unavailability” of PM for a meeting due to his busy schedule and wanted the state delegation to meet the Union Home Minister and Finance Minister for the purpose.
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“The PMO should have given the reply with the knowledge of prime minister and this attitude is highly condemnable,” Vijayan said.
“It also goes against the principles of democracy and federalism,” he said. The PMO did not suggest another date and instead it wanted the state delegation to meet the home minister or the finance minister, the chief minister said.
“We do not understand the logic behind this,” Vijayan said. Echoing similar sentiments, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Modi’s refusal meet an all-party delegation is an “insult” to the people of Kerala.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behaving like a authoritarian,” he said. Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also criticised Modi’s “attitude” and said the PMO should have suggested a convenient date for a meeting instead of refusing. However, the lone BJP member in the House O Rajagopal objected to the statements of both the CPI(M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF.
“The statements made by both leaders amounted to politicising the issue. The interpretation given to the PMO’s reply is not correct. Prime Minister is a busy personality. The state, instead of suggesting date, should have sought a convenient date from the PMO,” Rajagopal said.
“The statement of LDF and UDF leaders is part of their continuing process of insulting the PM,” he added. Later, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said Modi’s attitude is “shameful” and “against the spirit of federalism”. He wanted the state government to convey its protest to the Centre in this regard.