Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Kerala’s first metro on Saturday by travelling on a metro train in Kochi. However, “Metro Man” E Sreedharan (pictured above; centre), who oversaw the entire project, will not be on the dais, reported IANS on Wednesday. Those sharing the stage with Modi are Governor P Sathasivam, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Officials in Kerala claimed they had shortlisted 14 people to invite, reported NDTV. Managing Director of Kochi Metro Rail Corp Elias George said that the list of invitees was prepared and sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, but that the final list is made by the PMO. “We have no role in this”.

Others who have been excluded from the invitees list are Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Congress MP KV Thomas and legislator PT Thomas. Reacting to Sreedharan’s exclusion, PT Thomas said, “This shows the arrogance of the BJP”.

The Kerala Chief Minister’s Office, however, said it had requested the PMO to include the former Indian Engineering Service official, Opposition leader Chennithala and the legislators. The Kerala CMO has asked the PMO to revise the seating plan on stage, NDTV reported.

The stretch that is being inaugurated this weekend will see trains running for 13 kilometres. The total length of the network is 25 kilometres.