Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday came down heavily against state Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran for calling health minister KK Shailaja ‘Covid Rani’ and ‘Nipah Rajkumari’. The CM said the remarks were “anti-women”. He also questioned Congress party’s silence over the remarks.
“His remarks were anti-women. They were intended to target her personally. Sad, he is stooped to such a low. What is surprising is the continued silence of the party leadership,” the CM said.
Though his remarks triggered a controversy and invited criticism from many sections, the PCC chief has, however, refused to apologise on the issue, saying his a section of the media had twisted his words.
Ramachandran said ‘Rani’ and ‘Rajkumari’ were not derogatory terms and there was no need to apologise over them. He had made these remarks on Friday while Inaugurating the one-day fast of opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala before state secretariat demanding withdrawal of a government circular insisting on Covid-free certificates for expatriates returning to the state.
He said he used these epithets with good intention to expose the state’s failure on Covid-19 and there was no need to apologise. “I stick to what I said. Queen and Rajkumari are not derogatory terms either. I always hold women in high esteem. Recently a UK paper (The Guardian) had called the minister a ‘rock star,” he said on Saturday.
But chief minister Vijayan said the Congress leader’s justification exposes the decay that has gripped the party. “The minister was targeted to sabotage the ongoing fight against the pandemic. We have no idea why some good words about the state is making Congress leaders so nervous,” the CM said, adding the government will not allow the party to attack her personally.
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases crossed 3,000 in Kerala on Satruday with the state recording 127 infections – its highest single-day spike so far. . Out of 3039 cases, 1,566 have recovered and 1,450 are active cases. Out of 127 fresh cases on Saturday, 87 are expatriates and 36 came from other states, the CM said.