Modi in Kochi: MPs lash out for being kept away from dais

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The Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden and Chalakudy MP Benny Behanan lashed out at the Central and State Governments for being omitted from the dias where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch four projects in Kochi on Sunday.

Breach of privilege

Both Mr Eden and Mr Behanan had petitioned the Lok Sabha Speaker, while Mr Eden also moved a privilege motion, citing breach of Parliamentary privilege and gross protocol violation on the issue. Both of them kept away from Sunday’s function.

Addressing mediapersons here on Sunday, the MPs said that it is a mandatory protocol that MPs from a region be provided a seat on the dais for such functions. “Of the four launches, three projects fall in Ernakulam and the fourth – of BPCL in my constituency. Leave alone this, neither of us was invited either. On the contrary, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muralidharan, who was elected to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, was accommodated in the dais, although he handles none of these portfolios,” Mr Behanan said.

The omission seems deliberate, for fear that we may register our protest against the disinvestment of BPCL and also against the frequent and skyrocketing hike in fuel price. I got an invitation from BPCL at 3 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a telephone call from the Collectorate at 8 p.m. informing that we have to ‘line up’, as the PM arrived. It is noteworthy that the ₹24,500 crore integrated expansion project of the refinery was finalised when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. Interestingly, the KRL’s petrochemical plant is not yet fully ready begin producing propylene derivatives, he added.

Expressing dismay at the dais plan being changed, Mr Hibi Eden said that the two MPs were there in the initial plan that was forwarded to the Centre. “We being left out in the final plan is a clear protocol violation. Both of us had raised the issue of privatising BPCL , during zero hour in the Parliament. I also moved an adjournment motion. None can silence us and such issues will again be raised in the Lok Sabha. MPs being kept away from the dais is a clear violation of parliamentary proceedings and democratic norms. It is a message that whoever does not toe the Centre’s line will be sidelined,” Mr Eden said.

Moreover, the Centre’s attitude towards refinery workers is clear from the fact that the long-term agreement with workers unions has not been adhered to, following which trade unions are boycotting the function, he added.

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