4:45 am - Wednesday January 16, 2019

Congress CMs wary of sharing dais with PM Narendra Modi

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NEW DELHI: Shaken by the booing of their Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday, Congress chief ministers are wary of sharing the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in election-bound states, fearing that BJP would use these events to embarrass them by orchestrating protests. 

Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan has decided to skip a function in Nagpur where he was to lay the foundation of Metro with Modi on Thursday. At the same time, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has asked the PMO to ensure that he is not put in an embarrassing position when he joins Modi at a function in Ranchi on Thursday. 

Chavan announced his decision to skip the foundation-laying ceremony of Nagpur Metro, pointing to a pattern in the booing of Hooda and his own experience at an earlier event with the PM in Solapur where Modi chose to attack the now-dislodged UPA government. “In my opinion, the recent incidents in Solapur and Haryana in the presence of Modi had adverse impact on our federal structure. Under such circumstances, I decided not to attend the Nagpur event,” Chavan told reporters.

The concern of CMs coincide with Congress’s resentment over the Kaithal incident where Hoodda was heckled with Modi by his side. Congress circles feel the protest was organized by the BJP to paint rival CMs as unpopular, and could be part of a saffron strategy in poll-bound states where BJP is on a strong wicket electorally.

In fact, much before Chavan announced his decision, Congress managers started mounting pressure on the party leadership to direct its CMs to keep an arm’s length from Modi till the elections. A party leader said Sonia Gandhi was apprised of the concern in writing.

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