'Bring Shailaja teacher back': People, politicians, activists, celebrities demand

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja

The decision of the LDF in Kerala to not to give a cabinet berth to K K Shailaja attracted criticism from various quarters, with many asking a reconsideration of the decision, even as Shailaja said she will "obey everything the party decides."

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, in a tweet, praised her for her "reputed competence and efficiency," and said he found her helpful, responsive and accessible. "She will be missed," he said.

Poet and activist Bilu C. Narayanan said if Pinarayi Vijayan can continue as chief minister, Shailaja too could have continued. She was contesting the claim that the decision to exclude Shailaja from the cabinet was part of the move to replace all the ministers in the previous cabinet. "In this time of the pandemic, the health ministry deserves a continued leadership. This is a time when experience matters the most," The Wire quoted Narayanan as saying.

Author and historian Manu S. Pillai expressed disappointment over the exclusion of Shailaja, and said he hopes that the decision would be reconsidered. "There is a whiff of sexism to this. Even with the criterion that besides the CM, cabinet will be all new faces, I think Shailaja merits an exception," he tweeted.

Writer and columnist N. S. Madhavan pointed out that exclusion of Shailaja " would create huge perceptional problems nationally and internationally," and added that people and health staff are already feeling orphaned. " Sincerely wish there will be a rethink on the issue - still there is time," he added.

"I mark my dissent," wrote actor Rima Kallingal on Instagram.

In another post, she sought to know, "If a landslide record win and five years of world class service can't give you space in CPI(M), what can."

"To give chance to new leaders is a good thought but not at the cost of such legendary ones who played such a huge role in governing and rescuing us during some of the biggest calamities our state has faced. She deserves more," wrote south Indian actor Rajisha Vijayan on Instagram.

"Bring our teacher back," wrote actor Parvathy Thiruvothu on Instagram, adding, "No justifications to this! The people chose their leaders and this sidelining puts the party in a very questionable position. What’s more important than immediate and able governance!"

On Twitter, a Tweetathon with the hashtag #BringBackShailajaTeacher has been planned between 8pm and 10 pm on May 18.

"You have a chance to right the wrong," a Twitter user told CM Vijayan.

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