Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress and the BJP in Kerala on Thursday cried foul over the conduct of the second edition of Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) that is being held here and decided to boycott it.
The LKS is a global meet of Keralite diaspora settled outside the state. It was first launched by the Pinarayi Vijayan government in 2018 and the second edition opened on Wednesday at the banquet hall of the Kerala Assembly.
While the Congress said this is nothing but an event which smacks extravagance, the BJP said this is a fund raising event for the CPI-M.
To portray the boycott of the event by the Congress in poor light, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on his Twitter, shared a letter from Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi wishing the LKS all success. It was strongly contested by the state leadership of the Congress.
Inaugurating the event, Vijayan said he is pleased of what the LKS has been able to achieve.
"We have formed standing committees in various sectors consisting of experts and are working towards formulation and executing projects that will benefit the state. There has been a huge interest by the diaspora to invest in their home state and this is a big takeaway of the LKS. Various committees of the state government will be playing their role to see that investments take place here," said Vijayan.
Speaking to the media here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said not a single leader of the Congress-led UDF or its supporting diaspora organisation is taking part in the LKS.
"It was unbecoming of a person like the Chief Minister to use the letter of Gandhi. He is an MP from Kerala and if you look into his letter he has praised showers on the contribution of the Kerala diaspora and that's the truth we all know. We decided to boycott this event on December 20 after we found out that this government failed to do anything on what they said would be done when the first LKS was launched. Gandhi's letter to Vijayan was written on December 12. Moreover, this event is nothing but one where crores of rupees are being wasted in its conduct, which could have been avoided," said Chennithala.
AICC general secretary (organisation) K.C.Venugopal said it was unbecoming of a person like a Chief Minister to use Gandhi's letter.
"Its elementary courtesy to wish a programme being held in a state where he is an MP and to use it as a political tool is unfair. Moreover, the Congress gives the respective state units absolute freedom to chart its own political course," said Venugopal.
Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, the only BJP leader from Kerala in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that he got a letter of invitation and after that there was nothing heard about the programme and hence decided not to participate.
"There is no clue as to who are the delegates taking part in it and it has now come to be one which is nothing but a fund raising event for the CPI-M. About Rs 16 crore have been spent for revamping the hall alone. If Kerala Government is serious about the diaspora they should have got in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs, as it's they who are capable of working with the state government when the matter involves Indian diaspora. But that has not happened," said Muraleedharan.