Congress legislator from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday claimed that he and other local leaders were not allowed to enter the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in the state Capital during Narendra Modi’s visit. Tharoor said the Prime Minister’s Office had allegedly removed their names from the list of people allowed to visit the temple during Modi’s visit on Tuesday.

Modi had inaugurated developmental works carried out at the temple under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The scheme is aimed at developing basic facilities at religious sites across the country.

Tharoor tweeted that he had received Modi at the temple for the unveiling of a plaque of the Swadesh Darshan tourism project. “But when the local MP, MLA [and] Mayor were to enter the temple [with] him for darshan, we learned that PMO India had cut us from d [the] list,” he said. “It seems that under the BJP even God must serve a political purpose [and] members of other parties must not be allowed to worship in the prime ministerial presence!”

Tharoor told NDTV that when he and other local leaders were walking into the temple, the Special Protection Group told them that the Prime Minister’s Office had removed some names from the list, following which he walked out. “There is no point hanging around as decorative pieces where we are not welcome,” the Congress leader said.

Tharoor said that he and the other leaders were chosen by the people as their representatives, which should be respected. “...just as we in turn respect the office of PM.”

At a public meeting in Kollam, Modi had criticised the state government for the way it has handled the Sabarimala temple controversy. The prime minister said the Left Democratic Front, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the Opposition United Democratic Front are two sides of the same coin.