THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The year-long celebrations to mark 60 years of Kerala’s formation kicked off on a controversial note on Tuesday, as the organisers - the Assembly secretariat and government - did not invite the Governor and three former chief ministers to the event. Of the 60 prominent persons called for the inaugural event, Governor P Sathasivam and former CMs A K Antony, V S Achuthanandan and Oommen Chandy did not make the list of invitees.
Sources said that both Achuthanandan and Chandy, who were present in the Assembly till 10.45am, were invited to attend the inaugural event in the morning, hours before the function. The two, however, returned to their homes after the Assembly was adjourned.
With the issue snowballing into a major controversy, CM Pinarayi Vijayan was quick to defend the omissions.“The Governor was not invited due to protocol issues. We have not forgotten him. He would attend another event as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations,” said Vijayan, while inaugurating the event.
The invitees were finalised through collective decisions. It was decided that 60 people would be invited on the stage. If the Governor were also called to the stage, the number would have had to be fixed,” said Vijayan, adding, “The 60th anniversary celebrations are not a one-day programme. The Governor would be part of the celebrations - either its valedictory function or a more important function, which would be decided later.”
Moreover, Achuthanandan and Chandy had not been informed about speaking in the assembly, too, sources said, adding, “Achuthanandan was informed about making a speech in the assembly, on Tuesday morning only.