THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the controversy over the Sivagiri Mutt’s protest against the alleged lack of co-operation on the part of the state BJP leadership in ensuring the participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Sivagiri pilgrimage continues to rage, party state president V Muralidharan on Friday attributed the row to misunderstanding on the part of sanyasins at the Mutt.
Muralidharan admitted that Mutt had sent request to the PMO in August. “But then the central ministers and the Prime Minister were busy with Bihar elections and the subsequent parliament session,” he said.
“I had assured them (Mutt) to contact the PMO by mid November. I had also suggested the programme could be finalised by December first. But they were in a hurry,” he said.
Muralidharan also pointed out that as the Mutt was interested in enlisting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI General Secretary P Sudhakar Reddy for the same function, he had to back track.
“I could not have ensured the participation of the Prime Minister if the Mutt was enlisting General secretaries of the CPM and CPI and the Congress President at the same function. More over, if Modiji wanted to attend a programme, he would have asked for the whole programme,” he said.
Muralidharan said some of the Sanyasins had suspected that PM’s other function being organised by SNDP. He clarified that BJP had no interest in the political rift between
Sivagiri Mutt and the SNDP leadership.
However,Swami Ritambaananda, General Secretary of the Sivagiri Dharma Sangham Trust reiterated that BJP state leadership had not responded to the Mutt’s request properly.
Speaking to Express, Ritambarananda said: “We sent the requests to the Prime Minister’s Office on August 18. We wanted to release the programme notice by December 1. But the state BJP leadership did not take necessary efforts in time,” he said.
“I and Swami Guruprasad had tried many times to meet the PM to invite him. As we had already invited the President, Vice President, Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechuri for the function, We wanted the PM to inaugurate the function on December 31. As there was no acknowledgment from the PMO, we had to fix other names and release the programme notice,” he said.
He pointed out that Murlaidharan contacted the Mutt and enquired about the programme by last week of November but by then they had finalised the programmes.
Ritambarananda also pointed out that Mutt still had no official confirmation from the PMO about the PM’s visit. However, he admitted that the state protocol officer had invited the Mutt to attend the meeting convened by the Chief Secretary in connection with the PM’s visit. The SPG officials will be holding a meeting at Mutt on Saturday.