Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was not present at the Hyderabad airport as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the Telangana capital on Saturday.

Rao skipped Modi’s address at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics at Patancheru and an event in Hyderabad where the prime minister inaugurated a 216-feet Statue of Equality as well, PTI reported.

A communication from the chief minister’s office said that Telangana minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav was nominated as the minister-in-waiting to receive and see off Modi during his visit to the city. Unidentified officials from Pragati Bhavan, the chief minister’s official residence, told PTI that Rao was suffering from fever.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Union Minister for Tourism G Kishan Reddy and Yadav were among those who received Modi at the airport.

On February 1, Rao had called for voting out the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government. He said that the BJP needs to be “thrown into the Bay of Bengal”.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit criticised Rao for breaching protocol by receiving Modi at the airport. Telangana BJP president and Karimnagar parliamentarian Bandi Sanjay Kumar, referring to reports of the chief minister’s illness, said Rao’s excuse was “laughable”.

“So he suddenly gets a fever when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting?” Kumar asked in a video posted on Twitter. “Especially after using such language against the PM recently?”

Kumar added that the “people of Telangana will never forgive Rao for insulting the prime minister”.