New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not paying tributes to former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 111th birth anniversary at Vijay Ghat here.
Kejriwal also accused the Central government of “stopping” funds meant for celebrating the birth anniversary of India's second Prime Minister.
The Chief Minister, after paying floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, went to the nearby Vijay Ghat to pay homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri.
“When I visited to pay tributes to Shastriji, I got to know that Centre has stopped giving funds from this year to celebrate Shastriji's birthday,” Kejriwal said in a series of tweets.
“I also got to know that Prime Minister did not visit Vijay Ghat. I feel that ignoring Shastri Ji is not right,” he said.
However, the Prime Minister took to twitter to pay him homage to Shastri.
Kejriwal urged the Centre to “officially” celebrate the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri as they celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary.
Meanwhile, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ramniwas Goel, CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Speaker Vandana Kumari, Transport Minister Gopal Rai and a large number of dignitaries, freedom fighters and general public also paid their homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri at a function organized in Delhi Vidhan Sabha.
Congress today criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "not paying" homage to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at Vijay Ghat on his 111th birth anniversary and termed it as "unfortunate".
The Congress party's senior spokesman Ajay Maken today said, "Shastri was the Prime Minister of the country and not of any party. What might have been the problem for the Prime Minister to go to Vijay Ghat where President, Vice-President as also Congress chief paid homage to Shastri."
"It is unfortunate that Modi did not pay homage to Shastriji at Vijay Ghat which is very close to Raj Ghat where he paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi early today," Maken told reporters.
However, party leader Anil Shastri, son of Lal Bahadur Shastri, downplayed Prime Minister's 'non-participation'.
"It is Prime Minister's choice whom to pay homage and whom not to pay homage. He could be genuinely busy. It was a few minutes drive from the Raj Ghat," he said.
At the same time, he claimed that it was for the first time in 50 years that a Prime Minister has not paid homage at the Vijay Ghat, the memorial of India's second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
He also suggested that the Prime Minister's non-participation this time could be linked to Modi government's decision last year against organising anniversary functions related to former Prime Ministers, and asking concerned families and parties to do so.
The Prime Minister, however, took to twitter to pay him homage to Shastri.
"Salutation on the anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri ji (Lal Bahadur Shastri ji ki jayanti par mera pranam)," Modi tweeted.
In his message, he also posted a picture, saying, "I bow to the proud son of India Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri on his birth anniversary."