Thiruvananthapuram: CPM-led LDF government in Kerala courted controversy for not inviting the governor and three former chief ministers for the 60th year celebrations of Kerala formation day (Kerala Piravi) held at the assembly complex here Tuesday.
Governor P. Sathasivam, former chief minister and CPM veteran V.S. Achuthanandan and two former Congress chief ministers A.K. Antony and Oommen Chandy kept away from the function to mark the year-long diamond jubilee celebrations.
However, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who inaugurated the celebrations clarified that the Governor was not invited due to 'protocol' issues.
In his opening remark at the function, he said the government had not 'forgotten' the governor as stated in some quarters.
"It is due to protocol issues that a collective decision was taken on the matter," he said.
When contacted, Achuthanandan's office sources said the Marxist veteran did not attend the function as he was not invited.
"There is nothing more in it. The leader also has not made any protest or expressed discontentment over the issue," the sources said.
Achuthanandan had addressed the special assembly session held to mark the day and later left for his residence.
Meanwhile, taking exception over the ruling Left's attitude, KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran said the government had shown disrespect to former chief ministers by not allowing them to attend the function.
Antony came from Delhi to attend the function after the chief minister invited him over telephone. But his name was not mentioned in the program card, he stated.
Oommen Chandy was also not invited, Sudheeran said.
Giving reasons for omitting the governor, CM Pinarayi said, "If the governor was invited, only a limited number of people could have been accommodated on stage. But as you can see now, there are more than 60 persons from various fields who are on stage."
Year-long programs have been lined up as part of the celebrations and a function 'more attractive' would be held later, in which the governor would be invited, he said.
"It could be held either in the middle of the next year or as a valedictory function. So we have not forgotten the governor. I wish to inform you this here," he said.
Raj Bhavan sources, however, said, "There was no role for the head of the state at the function. Thus, the governor was neither informed of the function nor invited."
BJP also joined the chorus in attacking the LDF government and demanded an apology from the CM for the lapse.
"Not inviting the governor, who is the head of the state, is a violation of the constitution," BJP state President Kummanam Rajasekharan said.
(With agency inputs)