‘Remember, you’re everyone’s PM’: Oommen Chandy calls Modi’s campaign remarks on rescue of Kerala Christian nurses ‘outrageous’
P S Gopi Krishnan Unnithan, Thiruvananthapuram, February 24, 2018
MJ Nithyamol (center), one of the 46 nurses, with her family in Kottayam, Kerala.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comments on the rescue of 46 nurses from Iraq in 2014 were “upsetting” and “outrageous,” former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Saturday in a press release addressed directly to the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
At an election rally in Meghalaya, a Christian-majority state, Modi said Thursday that it was his government which had rescued the nurses, and pointed out that they were all Christians.
Oommen Chandy said both the UDF government in Kerala and the Centre had participated in the rescue effort, with support from the Malayali community in Gulf nations.
“As a person who witnessed the pain and anguish of their families, all of us had been a part of that not because they are Christians, but what held us on, was that they are Indians and they were in deep trouble,” he wrote. “I’m sure that Smt. Sushma Swaraj (the Union Minister for External Affairs) will vouch with me on this.”
In politics, allegations and accusations are normal. But please remember that you are the Prime Minister of all the people in India. – Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy to Prime Minister Modi
“It’s such a disgrace that you minisculed [sic] this great rescue operation done by the government targeting the majority Christian vote base in Meghalaya” he said.
“You could have at least thought about our Constitution before making such remarks.”
Chandy also brought up an allegation he said the BJP had made after two Italian marines were accused of killing fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012 (The accusation, he said, was that they would use Sonia Gandhi’s “Italian connection for their bail.”). He mentioned remarks Modi himself made about Congress leaders in the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly election.
He ended with these lines: “In politics, allegations and accusations are normal. But please remember that you are the Prime Minister of all the people in India.”
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