Karnataka CM, DyCM, Gov didn’t receive PM; ‘on my request’, says Modi; ‘petulant’, says Congress

Jairam Ramesh alleged that the prime minister was irritated with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for felicitating the ISRO scientists before him.

BySouth First Desk

Published Aug 26, 2023 | 12:42 PMUpdatedAug 26, 2023 | 12:42 PM

Prime Minister Modi felicitating ISRO scientists in Bengaluru

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Bengaluru directly from Greece in the early hours of Saturday, 26 August, to interact with ISRO scientists involved in the Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon.

While protocol is clear on who should receive the prime minister, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot were conspicuously absent.

Modi was, instead, received by Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma, DG and IGP Alok Mohan, and Police Commissioner of Bengaluru B Dayanand.

Even as Chief Minister’s Office insisted that they were waiting for a “PMO list” as per protocol, Modi said that he insisted none of the three come to receive him as his flight schedule was uncertain and his arrival was early morning.

The CMO had even kept Siddaramaiah’s schedule reserved all morning to accommodate receiving Modi, but the PMO list left out names of the chief minister, deputy chief minister, and the Governor.

The uncertainty of the flight schedule or the early morning arrival, however, didn’t apply to top bureaucrats who lined up to receive Modi at HAL.

Related: Modi names Chandrayaan-3 touchdown site as Shiv Shakti Point

Requested them not to come, says PM

Addressing a large number of people gathered outside the HAL airport, Modi said since he was coming from a far-off place (Athens) he did not know what time he would reach Bengaluru.

“I had requested the Karnataka Governor, chief minister, and deputy chief minister not to come to the airport to receive me as I did not want them to take the trouble of coming early in the morning as we were not sure of arrival time after a long flight,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said he requested Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar not to take the trouble of coming to receive him as he would return soon after paying tributes to ISRO scientists.

“So, I had requested them that when I pay a formal visit, they definitely follow protocol,” Modi said. “They cooperated and I am thankful and grateful to them,” he said.

Related: Pragyan rover on a 8-metre expedition on moon, payloads engaged

Petulant, petty politics, says Congress

On Friday, 25 August, ahead of Modi’s Bengaluru visit to meet ISRO scientists, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh alleged that the prime minister purportedly barred Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister Shivakumar from receiving him at the HAL Airport.

Insisting that this was against protocol, Ramesh alleged that the prime minister was irritated with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for felicitating the ISRO scientists before him. He termed Modi barring the chief minister and his deputy as “petulant, petty politics”.

He further, reminded the prime minister about his visit to the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad after the success of Chandrayaan-1, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.

Siddaramaiah felicitates ISRO scientists

Siddaramaiah on Thursday, 24 August, visited the Missions Operations Complex at ISTRAC and felicitated ISRO chief S Somanath and his team on the successful touchdown of the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s lander on the Lunar surface.

“The government will officially honour them by organising a special programme at the Banquet hall at Vidhana Soudha. About 500 scientists from Karnataka were part of it. ISRO Chairman S Somanath and his team will be honoured,” Siddaramaiah had said.

India on Wednesday, 23 August, scripted history as ISRO’s ambitious third Moon mission, Chandrayaan-3’s Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and the first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth’s only natural satellite.

Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka DK Shivakumar visited ISRO centre in Peenya on the day of Chnadrayaan-3 landing to congratulate and felicitate the team led by ISRO Chairman Somnath.

(With PTI inputs)