Sunday 21 June 2020 2:57 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON June 21: Laura Spinney, The Guardian correspondent who wrote an article about Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, titled “How Kerala’s rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19” had to come out and correct a Kerala politician who poked fun at the minister saying that she was called “modern dancer” by The Guardian.
On Friday Mullappally Ramachandran, the Congress party’s president in Kerala, was delivering a speech which was actually meant to inaugurate a day-long hunger strike by co-party member and Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.
However, he decides to pick on Kerala health minister KK Shailaja and started calling her names such as Nipah Rajakumari (Princess of Nipah), Covid Rani (Queen of Covid), Guest Artiste, all which has now become a subject of controversy.
The Congress leader had a copy of The Guardian news article about Shailaja which was published a month ago, Mullappally said: “It says: How Kerala’s rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19 (the headline).
What does it say? Kerala’s rockstar! You would know better. I don’t know about these modern dance forms. She’s being called a rock dancer.” For some reason, the Congress leader is convinced that ‘rockstar’ means ‘modern dancer’.
A social media user pointed this out to Laura Spinney, The Guardian correspondent who wrote the story, and the journalist responded on Twitter. “If @MullapallyR wishes to politicise the story that’s his prerogative.
When I used the term “rockstar”, I was quoting others. @shailajateacher has however been the subject of a feature film for her successful handling of another outbreak -Nipah virus: https://bit.ly/3ev7KoA,” Laura wrote.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday slammed the Congress chief for his ‘COVID Rani’ jibe against Health Minister KK Shailaja and called it “anti-women”. The Chief Minister said remarks by such leaders in responsible positions was unfortunate and that the Health Minister was being targeted for doing her duty. Vijayan said that the Congress leader got upset when the world lauded the state and the comment reflects his peculiar mental status and anti women stance.
Meanwhile, the Congress chief is not willing to apologise for the remarks. “I don’t see a reason to apologise as the credit of containing Covid-19 goes to the health workers and not the Health Minister or Chief Minister, Ramachandran said on Saturday.
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