AM JIGEESH, Financial Express, January 19, 2007
NEW DELHI, JAN 18: An invitation to the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi by the Kerala state unit of the RSS to participate in the Vishala Hindu Mahasammelan in Thiruvananthapuram on January 29, is threatening to snowball into a controversy with some Muslim organisations and a section in the Left pressuring the LDF government to deny entry to Modi in Kerala.
Modi is understood to have given his consent to participate in the programme, although the Kerala government has not got any formal intimation from the Gujarat government on his visit yet. Officials from the Gujarat chief minister's office on Thursday asserted that he would be visiting Kerala this month-end. A senior RSS functionary in Thiruvananthapuram also asserted that Modi was participating in the event. “The function is part of the ongoing Guru Jayanti celebrations. Modi has agreed to attend it," he told FE.
While posters have started appearing in the state decrying Modi's impending visit and asking the government to stop him from entering Kerala “for what he did during Gujarat genocide", the LDF regime led by chief minister VS Achuthanandan has decided to abide by the `wait and watch' policy for now.
Kerala government managers on Thursday said they are waiting for the formal intimation from Gujarat, before deciding on the next course of action. “The Cabinet and the CPI(M) is yet to discuss the matter," Kerala education minister and CPI(M) central committee member MA Baby told FE. When asked whether the government would heed to the demands not to allow Modi into Kerala, Baby said: “If Modi is coming to fan up communal passions, we are not going to allow it. But he is a chief minister and he is supposed to let us know his plans in the state through proper channels. We are yet to get any information from the Gujarat government."
A somewhat similar incident had taken place in the state earlier during the UDF government when strong protests against an impending visit by VHP leader Praveen Togadia forced him to change his plans. The then chief minister AK Antony had been pressurised both by the Opposition and some of his allies to arrest Togadia once he entered the State. Questioning the protests, RSS functionaries from the state, however, pointed out that an elected chief minister could not be stopped from visiting another state.