- 29 Indians have been evacuated from war-torn Libya
- Centre, Oommen Chandy in war of words over evacuation
- Chandy says his government paid for evacuation, Sushma Swaraj refutes it
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj felt driven to post a series of sharp tweets from her hospital bed in Delhi's AIIMS, where she is recovering from an illness.
Mr.Chandy - We evacuated thousands of Indians from Kerala from Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Who paid for them ?— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 12, 2016
Mr.Chandy - You said 'Kerala paid for 29 Indians evacuated from Libya.'— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 12, 2016
The tweets were in response to comments by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who is furious with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for crediting his own government for bringing back the Indians from Libya.
Mr.Chandy - You started this debate - as to Who paid ? Not me. We always did this because this is our pious duty towards our citizens.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 12, 2016
"Sushma Swaraj paid for the earlier evacuations. This time we have paid for their travel," Mr Chandy told NDTV on the phone.
"Ask those who have come back, they will tell you the truth," said the Chief Minister.
Earlier this week, PM Modi told a large crowd while campaigning for the May 16 state polls that the Centre had rescued families stuck in Libya. "Our government has saved six families and evacuated 29 people. The Indian government is committed to working for people who go abroad to work, we have always tried to help them. It gives me immense pleasure and happiness to tell you that they are coming back and will be united with their families soon," he said at a rally.
The comments chafed in poll season. The Congress-led government has also been seething over PM Modi drawing a comparison between Kerala and Somalia in infant deaths.
Mr Chandy said: "The comparison (of Kerala with Somalia) made by PM is devoid of facts. The Kerala government took a serious note of this, we are considering legal action."