Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Saturday questioned the presence of state BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the inaugural run of the Kochi Metro and termed it a serious breach of security. Rajasekheran dismissed the "baseless" charge.
Surendran said that there was a serious breach of security and it should be probed as to how a person who has not even won a local body election or does not hold any constitutional post was present at an official function.
"This has to be probed on how come a person who was not in the list of invitees to be present with the PM creeped in. Numerous PMs have visited Kerala in the past but such a thing has never happened before. Even the local legislator P.T.Thomas was not invited, then how come this person travelled with the PM," asked the senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader.
Incidentally Rajasekheran was present on the tarmac when Modi flew in here in the morning.
Then he was present in the front row when Modi reached the Palarivatom metro station and cut the ribbon and entered the station.
Once inside the train, Rajasekheran was seated on the extreme left along with Kerala Governor P.Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Urban Development Minister M.Venkaiah Naidu, with Modi in the centre.
Responding to Surendran's outburst, Rajasekheran told the media that he was levelling baseless charges without knowing or having any clue of what is happening and probably meant to take the sheen away from the function.
"It's ridiculous to hear a state Minister say all this. The truth of the matter is I was invited. I got the invitation from the Kerala Police and the Special Protection Group. I travelled in the vehicle provided by the Kerala government along with the motorcade of the PM. I was present at the airport when the PM arrived and departed.
"Surendran should have the guts to say to Chief Minister Vijayan that there was a breach of security. Will he ever say it?"
Asked about the matter, Kochi Metro Rail Limited Managing Director Elias George said that all what they do is to follow the guidelines of the higher-ups, adding that he does not wish to be drawn into any sort of controversy.
To add to the confusion, a photograph released by the state Information and Public Relations does not show Rajasekheran, but he is shown in the picture released by the Central government.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)