The loudest cheers at the Kochi Metro inauguration were reserved for E Sreedharan - Kochi Metro Rail Ltd.

The loudest cheers at the Kochi Metro inauguration were reserved for E Sreedharan

The Prime Minister’s Office had not even included his name in the list of invitees.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi loves a good photo-op. And the inauguration of the Rs 8,000 crore-Kochi Metro, the fastest one to be built in India, was seen as the perfect opportunity, even if it came at the cost of some controversy. E Sreedharan – popularly known as the “Metro man” for his leadership of the Delhi Metro project till his retirement – who oversaw the Kochi Metro project from inception to the final stage, was initially not invited to the inauguration.

“Don’t make it into a controversy,” Sreedharan, who has, ironically, been considered a possibility as NDA’s nominee for President of India, had said. It was only after a public outcry and a letter from Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to Modi about the “gross omission”, that Sreedharan’s name was eventually added.

As soon as his name was mentioned on stage on Sunday night and he waved to the crowd, Sreedharan was greeted with the loudest and most sustained applause and cheers.