Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Kochi for his first visit to Kerala after assuming office. The PM was received by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Governor P. Sadasivam at the INS Garuda naval air station here on Monday evening.
The Prime Minister's first official visit to the state has already been embroiled in a controversy after Chandy was asked to stay away from an SNDP function in which Modi will unveil the statue of former CM R. Sankar.
Protesting the omission of Chandy from the function, Youth Congress activists took out a march to the naval base airport carrying black flags as Modi landed at Kochi naval base airport. Kerala Police arrested 10 of the activists, including block president KR Rajeesh.
The PM has reached Thrissur to address a public meeting of BJP workers. After the meeting, Modi will return to Kochi and stay there, a government press release said.
On December 15, the Prime Minister will receive a tri service guard of honour at INS Garuda and inaugurate the Combined Tri services commanders conference.
Row over SNDP function
Modi on Tuesday will unveil the statue of former Kerala Chief Minister late R Sankar, a well-known community leader, who had headed the SNDP Yogam and the Kerala PCC.
However, the programme has run into controversy with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy being asked to stay away by SNDP general secretary Vellappally Natesan. Chandy himself in a press note had brought up the issue saying he would not be attending the function as Natesan had requested him not to attend and was "deeply saddened".
Natesan has not stated the reason for asking Chandy to keep away from the function. Chandy has already informed Prime Minister's office that he would not be attending the function.
Modi to go to Sivagiri
Modi will also be visiting the Sivagiri mutt and pay homage at the samadhi of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru and offer floral tributes and plant a sapling.
He will then move to Vaidika Mutt, where Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore had met the Guru 90 years ago. He will also be planting a tree sapling, Swami Sachidananda, General coordinator of the Prime Minister's visit said.
A large plaque of 'Daiva Dasakam', inscribed in Malayalam along with its English translation, will be unveiled by Modi. He will then proceed to Sarada mutt in the Sivagiri campus and address the public for a few minutes.
Modi will then return to Delhi via Thiruvananthapuram airport by 5.15 pm in a special Airforce flight.