The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) finds itself in an embarrassing situation with a controversy breaking out over Labour Minister Shibu Baby John’s meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at Gandhi Nagar a few days ago.
The Opposition and his detractors within the UDF have pounced on the Labour Minister for what is widely being described as an act of indiscretion. With all-round condemnation of the meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has sought an explanation from the Minister and Mr. Baby John, who was initially upbeat about the meeting, has come out with the admission that he should not have met Mr. Modi.
Mr. Baby John called on the Gujarat Chief Minister while in Gujarat to attend a meeting at the National Institute of Design (NID). Once the meeting snowballed into a controversy, the Minister told TV channels that he had done so for the good of the State and because in Gujarat it was Mr. Modi who decided everything. He did not agree with Mr. Modi’s politics and knew well that it would be detrimental to the nation, Mr. Baby John said.
However, by then, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala had made it clear that the Congress did not agree with the proposition that Kerala required the Gujarat model of development. Joining the fray, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said the Chief Minister should keep his Ministers in leash. Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food K.V. Thomas also felt that Mr. Baby John should have taken the Chief Minister’s permission before venturing out on such a mission.
The Chief Minister, when confronted by reporters, said he had asked Mr. Baby John to clarify matters.