The Centre on Monday distanced itself from the row over exclusion of Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy from a prime minister's event during his visit to the state, saying it has no role in it and termed as 'baseless' the political vendetta charge levelled by the Congress which stalled proceedings in the Lok Sabha over the issue.
Asserting that the National Democratic Alliance government does not believe in confrontation with any state government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said it was a 'needless' controversy and the decision on the invite was taken by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, an organisation of Ezhava community which was organising the event.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Kerala, his first since assuming office in May last year.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi targeted Modi on Monday over Chandy not being invited to the event, saying the PM has 'insulted' the people of Kerala. Congress also staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha over the issue.
'The controversy over the invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for SNDP function is needless and based on presumptions and assumption. SNDP is a social organisation and extending invitations to individuals or dignitaries is its own decision and discretion,' the home minister said in a statement.
Singh said the NDA government 'always works to strengthen cooperative federalism'.
'The SNDP must have invited the Kerala CM also for the function but later changed its mind and decided against it,' the statement said.
The Centre also released a letter from the Kerala government in which Chandy had conveyed his decision not to attend the function without assigning any reason.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, Singh said the decision to withdraw the invite to Chandy was taken by the SNDP due to its 'internal row'.
"Who is invited and who is not is a decision for the SNDP to take and the government has nothing to do with it," Singh said.
The SNDP has entered into a political alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala.
Meanwhile, SNDP leader Vellapally Natesan took responsibility for not inviting Chandy to the event.
"There has been no pressure from the BJP or anyone else to prevent the chief minister from attending the function," Natesan said at Kollam.