National Anthem not rendered at PM's function



Kochi: BJP on Friday took exception to the national anthem not being played at a function attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to commission the first phase of the International Container Trans-shipment Terminal at Vallarpadam, near Kochi.

Neither was the traditional lamp lit nor the national anthem rendered and "the people concerned should explain this", BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters in Kochi.

Sources in the Cochin Port Trust, which organised Friday’s function, said the programme had been cut short as Singh, had to leave for Thiruvananthapuram.

The inaugural function of the first phase of the over Rs 3,200 crore terminal under the Cochin Port expansion project, lasted only 40 minutes and the national anthem was not planned, they said.

They also pointed out there was no compulsion that the national anthem should be played at the Prime Minister's function. Only in the functions attended by the President, the national anthem has to be rendered, the sources said, adding even the vote of thanks was dispensed with.

Meanwhile, Fisheries Minister S Sharma and Transport Minister Jose Thettayil alleged that the state government was not given the due importance at the function.

The state ministers were not allowed to sit on the stage while only Central ministers were allowed along with Kerala Governor, R S Gavai, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheika Lubna Al Qasimi.

PTI