Oomen Chandy, Sushma Swaraj in war of words over Libya evacuations

After evacuating 29 Indians from Libya, Oomen Chandy said his government, and not MEA, paid for their travel; Sushma Swaraj hit back, asking him who paid for the thousands evacuated earlier

New Delhi/ Thiruvananthapuram: Amidst the fierce electoral battle in Kerala, a war of words broke out yesterday between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for taking credit for evacuation of 29 Indians from Libya.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

The political fight erupted a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government has evacuated the families from Libya and that the Centre was committed to work for welfare of Indians living abroad. A total of 29 Indians have been evacuated from Libya out of which 16 are from Kerala and they reached Kochi yesterday morning.

Kerala CM Oomen Chandy.
Kerala CM Oomen Chandy. Pics/AFP

“Mr.Chandy – We evacuated thousands of Indians from Kerala from Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Who paid for them? “Mr.Chandy – You said ‘Kerala paid for 29 Indians evacuated from Libya,” Swaraj said in a series of tweets.

The External Affairs Minister, who is recuperating in AIIMS where she was admitted on April 25, blamed Chandy for triggering the debate. “Mr.Chandy – You started this debate – as to Who paid? Not me. We always did this because this is our pious duty towards our citizens,” she said in another tweet.

Earlier, Chandy said the State government is bearing the travel expense of the families, indicating that the Centre had not extended the financial assistance for their travel. “Sushma Swaraj paid for the earlier evacuations. This time we are paying for their travel,” Chandy said.

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