Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, of the Congress, might be not be present when Prime Minister Narendra Modi lays the foundation stone for the Nagpur Metro on Thursday. Reason: The Congress has directed its chief ministers to avoid sharing the dais with Modi at political functions. Congress CMs have been told to abide only by protocol when the PM visits their respective states.
This decision by the Congress comes after Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was jeered at by Bharatiya Janata Party supporters on Tuesday, in the presence of Modi, during a foundation stone laying function. With Assembly elections due in some states, the thinking within the Congress is that such incidents are “orchestrated” to humiliate the party.
According to protocol, the prime minister is a VVIP and hence treated as a “state guest”. When on an official visit to the state capital, the PM is to be received and seen off by the chief minister, the chief secretary and the police chief. When the PM visits any other city, the CM concerned can nominate a minister to receive the PM. Protocol stipulates details only about receiving, seeing off and providing accommodation and transportation to a state guest.
Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said, “There is no illegality or constitutional violation if a CM does not attend a function where the PM is present. But it is a matter of courtesy, propriety and convention.”