Bengaluru: Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac's description of Vamana as a "cheat" has invited the ire of the BJP with the saffron party demanding an apology from the Marxist leader for "insulting" one of the reincarnations of Lord Vishnu. BJP state president K Surendran sought an apology from Isaac for insulting the devotees of Lord Vishnu. In his tweet greeting people on Onam on Monday and announcing the floor price for 14 types of vegetables, Isaac said, "we celebrate Mahabali who did not discriminate by caste or creed, not Vamana who cheated him."

"This edition of the harvest festival has something to celebrate. Kerala has announced floor prices for 14 types of vegetables in its drive for self-sufficiency in vegetables," he said.

Isaac's tweet did not go down well with Surendran, who said that Vamana being worshipped by crores of devotees is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Noting that the biggest Onam celebration is being held at Lord Vamana temple at Thrikkakara in Ernakulam district in the state, Surendran said in a Facebook post, "Isaac who insulted Vamana must apologise to devotees of Lord Vishnu". According to legend, Mahabali, a generous king who had once ruled Kerala, was sent to the nether world by Vamana.

It is said during his rule, the kingdom became so prosperous that Devas (gods of the Heaven) felt jealous about it as Mahabali belonged to the Asura clan and sent Vamana to end Mahabali's reign in Kerala. Onam, the most popular festival in Kerala, was a low-key affair in the state on Monday due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Big celebrations were missing this year as the people largely celebrated Thiruvonam indoors to commemorate the visit of the King Mahabali to the lands and people he previously ruled.