Pinarayi slams Mullappally for 'COVID queen' remark against minister Shailaja

Pinarayi slams Mullappally for 'COVID queen' remark against minister Shailaja
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the opposition Congress in a harsh manner on Saturday for what he termed the latter's attempt to sabotage the state's works to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Deviating from his usual style, the chief minister spent much of his press conference on the COVID situation in the state to criticise the Congress. The trigger was Congress state chief Mullappally Ramachandran's 'COVID queen' remarks against state Health Minister K K Shailaja.

Vijayan came down heavily on the Congress for staging a protest against the husband of nurse Liny Puthussery who died fighting the Nipah virus in Kozhikode. Congress activists had staged a protest at the work place of Liny's husband Sajeesh for criticising Ramachandran and supporting Shailaja.

The chief minister said the attempts to haunt Liny's family will not be tolerated. "Liny's family belongs to the whole Kerala. Kerala will protect her family," the CM said.

Referring to Ramachandran's statement that he was agitated to see the reports about Kerala in over 40 international media, the chief minister said, "Mullappally is disturbed to hear good news about Kerala. Malayalis are proud to hear good about Kerala, but Mullappally is agitated. His fury will not affect Keralites."

In a harsh remark, the chief minister said Mullappally was the prisoner of the insanity caused by the stench within him.

Pinarayi slams Mullappally for 'COVID queen' remark against minister Shailaja
Mullappally Ramachandran

The chief minister quoted massively from Malayala Manorama's editorial which criticised the Congress leader's choice of words to attack Shailaja.

The chief minister made the statements against the Congress saying he was forced to do so. He said the opposition was embarrassed as their attempts to sabotage the COVID containment works have been exposed in front of the people.

The chief minister cited leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala's earlier remark that Shailaja was a media maniac and said the opposition was trying to isolate the minister and target her. He criticised Chennithala for holding a protest in the state capital on Friday without following social distancing norms.

Mullappally stands by his words

On Friday, while kicking-off a protest meeting in front of the Secretariat, Ramachandran came down heavily on Shailaja saying that she was trying to take credit but doing nothing and bringing hardship to the diaspora.

He said, "She first by just playing a 'guest role' when Nipah struck Kozhikode, earned the title 'Nipah princess' and now she is trying to earn the title of 'Covid Queen', when our diaspora is waiting endlessly to return to their home town. This Left Front government has cheated the diaspora, when they badly needed the support of the state government".

On Saturday, angry members of the women's wing of the CPI(M) took out a march to the residence of Ramachandran in Kozhikode district demanding an apology for his remark.

Pinarayi slams Mullappally for 'COVID queen' remark against minister Shailaja
Health Minister K K Shailaja

Also joining the issue was the husband of Lini, a nurse who was in the forefront of helping Nipah victims at Kozhikode in 2018, but died, falling to the deadly disease.

Her husband Sajeesh not only praised Shailaja, but came down heavily on Ramachandran.

He said, Shailaja is like a family member to them and was always with the grieving family and even now calls them on Lini's death anniversary.

Sajeesh pointed out that when Nipah struck Kozhikode, Ramachandran was a Lok Sabha member from Vatakara but he never even called or did anything.

Reacting to this, Congress workers marched to the office of Sajeesh and pointed out that Ramachandran was very much active in the fight against Nipah and he even spoke to Sajeesh.

On Saturday, Ramachandran said that he stands by what he said and the entire credit for fighting the Nipah virus should be given to the hard working health professionals at Kozhikode.

"After allegations were raised that I was never there to fight Nipah, I have released videos of what I have done then. I reiterate that I stand by what I said yesterday as she (Shailaja) was just chairing meetings and that's all what a minister can do. There was no need to glorify that and full credit should be given to the health professionals. I am a person who never ever belittles women," said Ramachandran.

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