New Delhi: Congress on Friday criticised 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."
??? ?????? ???????? ?? ?? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ? pic.twitter.com/hg695KaLqI— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2015