Thiruvananthapuram | In an embarrassment to the Congress in Kerala, veteran leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday attended the 'Keraleeyam' programme organised by the Left government despite the state unit's stand to boycott the event, alleging it was a 'financial extravaganza'.
Aiyar took part in a seminar and showered praises on the southern state's achievements in the area of decentralisation.
Addressing the seminar, the former Union Minister for Panchayat raj said he was happy to hear from the Additional Chief Secretary that the principle focus of the Panchayat Raj in Kerala is already and will continue to be the removal of extreme poverty.
So that no single person is left poor in the southern state, he said.
"It looks as if Kerala is going to be the first state to succeed in wiping every tear from every eye. And I want to congratulate the people of Kerala (in this regard)," he said.
Aiyar is known as one of the chief architects of the Panchayati Raj system in the country.
He noted that he congratulated the people of the state and not the Left government on this "magnificent achievement".
Governments may change at particular intervals, but it has not made any difference in Kerala's commitment to the Panchayati Raj, the Congress veteran added.
The Congress-led UDF opposition had announced the boycott of the CPI(M)-led government's 'Keraleeyam' event, saying it was an extravagance at a time when the state was reeling under acute financial crisis.
The mammoth event was designed to showcase Kerala's progress and achievements.