THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A youth leader of LDF constituent party LJD has petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging ‘protocol violation’ after it emerged that a Kochi-based PR professional and BJP Mahila Morcha leader had attended the Indian Ocean Rim Association of Ministers’ meeting held in UAE in November 2019, in which Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan represented the country.
In his petition, Saleem Madavoor, national president of Loktantrik Yuva Janata Dal, said PR professional Smitha Menon was not an official representative at the meeting and alleged that she was inducted into the Indian team by Muraleedharan. Saleem urged the Prime Minister to order an inquiry on how the PR professional attended the meeting. The allegation against Muraleedharan comes at a time when K T Jaleel, a minister in the LDF cabinet is facing similar charges of ‘protocol violation’ in his dealings with the UAE consulate in the state.
‘Not part of the official team’
When his response was sought on the matter, Muraleedharan told reporters that it was for the Prime Minister to respond on a petition that has been submitted to him. He added that the Indian mission in the UAE has already clarified the matter. In an RTI reply, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi had said the PR professional did not participate in the meeting as a representative of the Government of India. Meanwhile, Smitha Menon said she attended the international meet in her capacity as a PR professional after registering in the ‘media’ category.
She said the news and other information regarding the meeting were provided to the media in India as part of her job. Smitha also clarified that travel and other expenses for the meeting were met from her own pocket.