Don’t ‘Trivialize’ Libya Evacuation Issue: Venkaiah Naidu To Oommen Chandy

New Delhi: As the Centre and Kerala government engaged in a war of words over evacuation of 29 Indians from war-torn Libya, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday asked the poll-bound state’s Chief Minister Oommen Chandy not to “trivialize” the issue to “score brownie points”.

Taking a dig at Mr Chandy, Mr Naidu said earlier the same chief minister had lauded External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for her initiative to bring back Keralites from Iraq.

A total of 29 Indians, including 16 from Kerala, were evacuated from strife-torn Libya. Those from Kerala, including nine families, reached Kochi on Thursday morning.

Mr Naidu said the stranded Keralites who arrived from Libya are facilitated and being taken care by the union government.

“Centre evacuated thousands of Keralites from Iraq, Libya and Yemen. As said by Sushma Swaraj Ji, it is our pious duty towards our citizens. The stranded Keralites arrived from Libya are facilitated and being taken care by the government of India,” Mr Naidu said in a tweet.

“… and Mr Chandy says that he wanted to buy air tickets but could not do so owing to foreign exchange issue. Funny argument … Earlier the same chief minister lauded Sushma Swaraj for her initiative of bringing back Keralites from Iraq,” he added.

“Mr CM.. do not trivialize. As it is joint responsibility of both Central and state governments, do not try to score brownie points (sic),” Mr Naidu said in another tweet.

Kerala goes to assembly polls on May 16 and the results will come out on May 19.

On Thursday, Mr Chandy had said the state government was bearing the travel expenses of the families, indicating that the Centre had not extended the financial assistance for their travel.

The political fight erupted after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that his government evacuated the families from Libya.