Thiruvananthapuram: A controversy has erupted over BJP president Amit Shah landing at the yet-to-be-opened Kannur airport, with a Kerala minister slamming him on Sunday for threatening to pull down the LDF government despite it allowing him to arrive there as part of the state’s “tradition of hospitality”.
State Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac tweeted that though the state had shown the 'tradition of hospitality' by permitting Shah to land at the airport, which had not been formally inaugurated, the BJP leader had threatened to oust the Left-ruled Kerala government.
The official inauguration of the Kannur airport, the fourth in the state, is scheduled to be held on December 9. But, by arriving in a special flight there on Saturday to inaugurate the BJP's new district committee office, Shah has unofficially become the first passenger to land in the airport at Mattanur in Kannur.
In a hard-hitting speech, the BJP chief had warned chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan that he would have to pay a "heavy price" if the (attack on Ayyappa devotees) continues, as BJP workers “would not hesitate to pull down the government”.
Isaac said Shah's "empty threats" were out of frustration as the saffron party is yet to get more members in the state assembly. Former Union minister, O Rajagopal, is the lone MLA of the BJP in the House.
"Amit Shah permitted to land in Kannur airport which is yet to be opened. That is our tradition of hospitality. But he is threatening to oust Kerala government. Such empty threats do not frighten us. Try to win few seats in Assembly. Your frustration is understandable," Isaac tweeted.
Hundreds of party workers had gathered at the airport on Saturday to welcome Shah who was in Kerala on a day's visit.
After inaugurating the party office located at Thalikkavu, he had made a scathing attack on the CPI(M)-led LDF government in the state over the Sabarimala women's entry issue and pledged BJP's support for it.
The main opposition Congress took on the LDF government for allowing the BJP chief to use the airport.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran alleged that Shah landed at the airport, following an 'understanding' between him and Vijayan.
"At a time when the Kannur airport is scheduled to be inaugurated on December 9, it was specially opened for Amit Shah. Usually, it is done so during emergency situations," he said in a statement.