- PM Modi visited Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram
- Security said that PMO has cut some names off the list, Mr Tharoor said
- No point hanging around as decorative pieces, Mr Tharoor told NDTV
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor alleged that he and other local leaders were not allowed to enter the centuries-old Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Kerala on Tuesday. Mr Tharoor, who is the lawmaker from the city, accused the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) of striking their names from the list of people allowed in the temple when the PM was there.
"I was with the prime minister for the unveiling of the plaque. As of all us were going to go inside the temple, the SPG (Special Protection Group) said that the PMO has cut some names off the list and the list no longer included the local MP, the MLA and the mayor, at which point we walked out. There is no point hanging around as decorative pieces where we are not welcome," Mr Tharoor told NDTV.
Received PrimeMinister @narendramodi at the SreePadmanabhaSwamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram for the unveiling of a plaque of the Swadesh Darshan project. But when the local MP,MLA&Mayor were to enter the temple w/him for darshan, we learned that @PMOIndia had cut us from d list. pic.twitter.com/mactAJZZgK— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 15, 2019
PM Modi visited Kerala on Tuesday and offered prayers at the famous temple in the state capital. Governor Justice P Sathasivam and the state temple body minister Kadakampally Surendran accompanied PM Modi inside the temple.
"We have been elected by the people. People have chosen us as their representatives, and this must be respected, just as we in turn respect the office of PM", Mr Tharoor said.
It seems that under the BJP even God must serve a political purpose & members of other parties must not be allowed to worship in the Prime ministerial presence! https://t.co/OuxbyxRdAb— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 15, 2019
Before entering the temple, PM Modi unveiled a plaque to mark the launch of visitor facilities there. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam and Mr Tharoor were present at the function.
Shashi Thaoor has attacked the government on a host of issues including the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and the 2016 notes ban. He recently called PM Modi's party a "sinking ship".
At a rally in Kollam district, PM Modi had made a scathing attack on the ruling Left and opposition Congress over its handling of the Sabarimala temple issue after the Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on entry of women of mentruating age. "The CPM government's conduct on Sabarimala will go down in history as the most shameful action of any government in power... We know CPM government never respected spirituality, religion... but no one thought it would turn so shameful," PM Modi said.
"We stand with believers but we want to solve this problem by only constitutional means. We have taken it to court. We will not go and obstruct people, vandalise property, throw stones. We will leave that for Sangh Parivar goons... The PM's purpose is political, to convey a message to Hindu voters that the Congress is on all sides of the issue and that we are your true defenders. That's not true. We have our stand," Mr Tharoor told NDTV, responding to PM Modi's charges.
Amid the massive protests - against the verdict and the women who reached Sabarimala - the state government had said it was duty-bound to implement the top court's orders.
The state's stand had drawn enormous criticism from the right-wing groups who had hit the streets over the issue. Attacks also came from the BJP, which has been trying to expand its footprint in the state.