Requested Karnataka CM not to come, says PM Modi amid protocol row in Bengaluru
Modi said he did not want them to take the trouble of coming early in the morning as he was not sure of his arrival time after a long flight.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday (August 26) that he had asked the Governor of Karnataka, the Chief Minister, and the Deputy Chief Minister not to personally come to the Bengaluru airport to welcome him.
He explained that he didn't want them to undergo the inconvenience of an early morning arrival due to the uncertainty of his flight schedule after a lengthy journey.
Ahead of Modi's Bengaluru visit to meet ISRO scientists, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday alleged that he purportedly barred Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar from receiving him at the HAL Airport.
Meanwhile, a war of words erupted between BJP MLA and former minister R Ashoka and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar over "ignoring" protocol to receive the Prime Minister at the airport.
Modi flew down to Bengaluru around 6 AM directly from the Greek capital of Athens to interact with ISRO scientists involved in the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon.
Addressing a large number of people gathered outside the HAL airport, the PM said since he was coming from a far-off place (Athens) he did not know what time he would reach here, and he requested Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, CM Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM Shivakumar not to take the trouble of coming to receive him as he would return soon after paying tributes to ISRO scientists.
"So, I had requested them that when I pay a formal visit, they definitely follow protocol," Modi said. "They cooperated and I am thankful and grateful to them," he said.
Ramesh alleged that the PM was irritated with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for felicitating the ISRO scientists before him, and termed Modi barring the Chief Minister and his deputy as "petulant petty politics".
Siddaramaiah on Thursday visited the Missions Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) and felicitated ISRO chief S Somanath and his team on the successful touch down of Chandrayaan-3 mission's lander on the Lunar surface.
"The government will officially honour them by organising a special programme at the Banquet hall at Vidhana Soudha. About 500 scientists from Karnataka were part of it. ISRO Chairman (S) Somanath and his team will be honoured," Siddaramaiah had said.
Replying to a query on the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister not visiting the airport to receive the Prime Minister, BJP leader Ashoka alleged that the Congress leaders have no sense of protocol.
"The Congress leaders do not want to see scientists. They were the ones who had stopped Chandrayaan-2. They had jailed former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan. He was released after the Supreme Court intervened," Ashoka told reporters.
"They have no knowledge of protocol. They do politics for votes while our Prime Minister’s politics is for country’s development," the former minister charged.
Hitting back, Shivakumar said there was an official communication from the Prime Minister’s Office that he, Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot and CM should not come to receive him.
He also said Ashoka’s statement is a proof that how the Central government and PM’s office has kept him at a distance.
"Our time sense, political sense, sense of protocol and sense of honouring people is better than the BJP. We were ready in the morning itself to receive the Prime Minister as per the protocol. Our Chief Minister, our government were prepared to receive him because this is his maiden visit to Bengaluru (after Congress government came to power) and this (Chandrayaan project) has succeeded in Karnataka," Shivakumar told reporters.
"Our (Karnataka) Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma ‘unofficially’ received a phone call from the Prime Minister’s Office (that the Governor, Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister should not come) but we did not agree for it and asked the Chief Secretary to request the PMO to get the reply in writing," he claimed.
The PMO then replied officially that the Governor, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister should not come to receive the Prime Minister, Shivakumar claimed.
The Deputy Chief Minister said he can release the communication received from the PMO.
India on Wednesday scripted history as ISRO's ambitious third Moon mission Chandrayaan-3's Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth's only natural satellite.