In a major embarrassment to the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government, former Health Minister KK Shailaja slammed the state government in the Kerala Assembly over its failure to provide sufficient relief to the unorganised sector in the state, reports Times of India.
While moving the “calling attention” motion of the Minister for Industries and Coir P Rajeeve, controversial former Health Minister KK Shailaja stressed that Covid-19 relief measures declared by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government were insufficient and demanded the government to provide a special revitalisation package to the unorganised labour sector.
The former Health Minister, who was dropped by Pinarayi Vijayan from the cabinet after his re-election as the chief minister this year, embarrassed the Communist-led LDF government, saying the present support provided by the government to the unorganised sector is insufficient, and hence the government should give more care to this sector.
“The present announced packages are only temporary relief for this sector. The salary arrears in the handloom sector has not been disbursed yet. Hence steps should be taken to disburse these arrears at the earliest,” KK Shailaja said, leaving the LDF members red-faced.
KK Shailaja, the MLA from Mattanur constituency, said the people in this sector have availed huge loans and are also facing severe crises to afford the daily needs due to the present situation. She also demanded the government to increase the Onam rebate by 10% for handloom products.
“The welfare fund announced for this sector are insufficient. They need a special package, and the government should also provide interest-free loans to this sector,” the Communist leader criticised the Kerala government on the floor of the assembly.
Meanwhile, Minister Rajeeve ignored the demand raised by the former Health Minister as he did not give any commitment to any of the demands made by her.
Shailaja ‘Teacher’ – the face of Covid-19 crisis in Kerala
Former Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja, also fondly known as Shailaja Teacher in the “liberal-secular” media coterie, is the face of the Kerala Covid-19 crisis.
Shailaja, a retired teacher, gained popularity as the health minister for the “Kerala model” of battling the pandemic. She was lauded by national and international media lauded for her handling of the Covid-19 virus. KK Shailaja was at the helm of the “Kerala model” of tackling Covid-19 which was celebrated by the “liberal-secular” press, however, it did not translate on the ground as Kerala has become one of the worst affected states in the country during both the waves of Covid-19 pandemic.
Under KK Shailaja’s leadership, the Kerala model of Covid-19 management failed spectacularly. During the first wave, Kerala turned out to be an epicentre of Covid-19 cases with higher caseloads, even affecting neighbouring states such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Instead of tackling the pandemic, KK Shailaja and her team indulged in a PR game to boost her image and sell the success of the so-called Kerala model.
In fact, the Kerala Health Ministry was accused of covering up the Covid-19 deaths in the state by underreporting the deaths. A group of researchers had exposed the Kerala government’s shameful act of deliberately hiding the number of people who have succumbed to the pandemic to keep their image intact. During the second wave of the pandemic, the state consistently reported more than 25,000 cases a day.
The greatness of KK Shailaja was so much that she was thrown out of the Health Ministry by Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in the newly formed government. Despite all that PR campaign, KK Shailaja, aka Shailaja teacher, could not become Health Minister again.