Zee Media Bureau
Thiruvananthapuram: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will arrive on a day-long visit to Kerala on Wednesday. The Sivagiri Mutt at Varkala, 30 km from the state capital, has invited Modi as chief guest at a function to be held today to mark the post-centenary of installation of ‘Vidhyadevta’ idol on its premises.
Stringent security measures have been put in place for Modi by the state government with the state DGP directly overlooking the arrangements to ensure safety to the Gujarat Chief Minister.
The Mutt authrorities have been under fire from many in the political class and others for having invited Modi with Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan going to the extent of has turning down the invite for the function at Sivagiri Sree Narayana Dharma Meemamsa Parishath to register his protest.
CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that it was part of a move to saffronise the Sivagiri Mutt which had always remained secular.
The Mutt authorities, however, rejected the criticism and maintained that the doors of the ashram are open to all.
“Sivagiri Mutt has no politics and its tradition is to welcome all,” said Swami Rithambharananda, who is president of Sree Narayana Dharma Sangham Trust. He said that the Mutt had also extended invitation to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi but they had not responded.
Importantly, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) general secretary Vellappally Natesan welcomed the Gujarat Chief Minister to Sivagiri. "There is no need for untouchability towards Modi in Kerala. His style of functioning has made him distinct and that is why he was invited to Sivagiri," Natesan had said on Monday.
BJP state president V Muraleedharan criticized the Left leaders for their campaign against Modi.
"They accuse Modi of the Gujarat riots (of 2002) but the CPI-M shared the stage with Abdul Nasir Maudany, an accused in Coimbatore blasts (he was later acquitted) and in the Bangalore blast case. They have no right to say whom not to invite," said Muraleedharan, asking if the CPI-M would accept advice from the Sivagiri mutt on which leaders to invite to its party meetings.
Earlier, reports had suggested that Modi may also meet Rev Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, head of the powerful Syro Malankara Catholic Church. However, the BJP state chife was later quoted as saying that Modi has no other engagement in Kerala other than the one at Sivagiri Mutt.
Kerala’s Labour Minister Shibu Baby John had come under attack last week over his meeting with Modi in Gandhinagar. Although he clarified that he had only discussed developmental issues with Modi; he later accepted that the meeting should have been avoided.