Kozhikode: As the row continues over Kochi metro's inauguration, the CPM - the largest party in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) - has said the Kerala government has invited prime minister Narendra Modi for the launch for him to see the development of the state he once compared to Somalia.
"We want the prime minister to see that development in Kerala, the state which he had compared with Somalia. So we have invited him to dedicate the Kochi Metro to the nation," CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said on Friday.
During an election rally in Kerala last year, Modi had compared Kerala, which is ranked first in Human Development Index in India, to Somalia, saying it lagged in development.
"The unemployment rate in Kerala is at least three-times higher than the national average. Infant mortality rate among the scheduled tribe community in Kerala is worse than Somalia," Modi had said then.
Speaking during a party function here, Kodiyeri said the Kochi Metro inauguration will be held by this month end.
Row over Metro inauguration date
On Friday, a controversy erupted after tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said the inauguration will be held on May 30 and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate it, if the PM cannot make it to the function.
Soon, BJP's Kerala wing expressed strong criticism against the decision of fixing the date before getting any kind of confirmation from the prime minister.
The decision to conduct the inauguration was taken even after it was informed that Modi will be on foreign tour from May 29 to June 3, they alleged.
Hours after the news broke, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in damage control mode, made clear that the government has not fixed the inaugural date.
"We expect the PM will give us a date. The inauguration date will be decided only after that," the chief minister said in Kannur.
Kodiyeri's comments once again fired-up the controversy.
(With inputs from PTI)