Kerala Govt Considering Legal Action Against Modi For Somalia Remark

12/05/2016 8:08 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, waves as he arrives at an election rally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in Kolkata, India, Sunday, April 17, 2016. Modi is on a campaigning tour of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal for the state assembly elections. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)

The controversy around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comparison of Kerala with Somalia does not seem to be dying down with the offended state government planning to approach the Chief Election Commission to seek legal action against him.

“The PM has insulted Kerala and millions of Malayalees. We thought he would withdraw his remark while addressing a rally near Kochi on Wednesday. His silence has shocked people of Kerala,” Hindustan Times quoted Chief Minister Ooomen Chandy as saying.

The CPI-M said the situation in the state did not become like it is in the African country because BJP never came to power in Kerala.

The comparison made by Modi at a poll rally in the state early this week when he said the "infant mortality rate among the scheduled tribe community in Kerala is worse than Somalia" has set off a political storm and triggered criticism in the social media.

Twitter users have responded with hashtag #PoMoneModi (Get lost Modi), a take off from the Mohanlal starrer, which features the famous punch line "Po Mone Dinesha" to ridicule some of the characters of his hit film 'Narasimham'.

"He is the Prime Minister of the country...He humiliated the people of Kerala by comparing the state with Somalia. We see it very seriously. The Prime Minister made statement based on certain media reports...It is wrong..," Chandy told a meet-the-press programme, organised by the Ernakulam press club in Kochi.

"Since he is the Prime Minister, he should have checked official records before making such statements. We are planning to take legal action (against the Prime Minister).

Moving the Election Commission on this issue is also in our consideration," Chandy said.

Earlier in the day, in his Facebook post, Chandy, who had shot off a protest letter to PM on the issue, accused Modi of keeping mum on the controversy during his rally at Thrippunithura near Kochi late evening yesterday.

Stating that Kerala is far ahead than BJP-ruled Gujarat in addressing infant mortality rate and issue of malnutrition, the chief minister said what Keralites want is not his silence, but an unconditional apology from the Prime Minister.

"We are No 1 in Human Development Index while Gujarat is placed at 11th position. The Prime Minister should give us an explanation," he said.

Chandy said Modi left the election campaign rally yesterday without answering his questions.

"It could be due to the wide criticism he had received not only from the state, but also from the Malayali community world over," Chandy said.

Attacking Modi for his Somalia remarks, CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said "one thing the Prime Minister should understand is that the state has no such situation as in Somalia because, BJP has never come to power."

"Modi's statement would result in a setback to BJP in the ensuing polls as it has insulted the people of the state," he told reporters at Thiruvananthapuram.

(With PTI Inputs)

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