Thiruvananthapuram: Days ahead of the three-cornered Lok Sabha contest in Kerala, Left and Congress leaders in the state have condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign statements in the state, calling them “falsehoods”.

Modi said earlier this week during campaigning that chanting the name of deities would take one to jail in Kerala.

The prime minister had said, “People here cannot even utter the name of their deity. False cases are registered against them and they are assaulted with batons.”

Strongly contesting the prime minister’s statement, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan challenged Modi to point out even a single case of a devotee being jailed for invoking the name of deities.

Explaining his stand in a statement, Vijayan said, “It is unfortunate that such an untruthful and concocted campaign has been unleashed by the prime minister. Such charges, which have no connection with the truth, is unbecoming of his position.”

Vijayan said the arrests in connection with the Sabarimala agitation were not for chanting the name of deities, but for committing violence.

Vijayan also countered Modi’s criticism of the state government’s management of the floods in August last year. The chief minister said Modi’s politics was the reason for such allegations. The federal government had prevented Kerala from receiving external help when the state was affected by the deluge.

Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala also countered Modi on his statements regarding Sabarimala.

“Where was Modi when the Supreme Court verdict came on the Sabarimala issue? His government could have made a legislation to protect tradition, or even passed an ordinance. Without doing any of those, he is trying to appeal to the emotions of voters and grab their votes”, Chennithala said.

Chennithala said Modi’s question about why Rahul Gandhi was contesting from Wayanad, and not from Thiruvananthapuram or Pathanamthitta, smacked of communalism.

“Through that statement, the prime minister has discredited not just the people of Wayanad, but also those of Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta”, Chennithala said.