Differences in UDF on row over Cong Chief's jibe at Health Min

Thiruvananthapuram, June 21 (PTI) Differences in the UDF surfaced on Sunday with the Congress leaders rallying behind its state Chief Mullappally Ramachandran, caught in a row over his remarks against the State Health Minister, while its partner IUML felt that it could have been avoided.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said it was the duty of the Opposition to criticise the 'wrongdoings' of the state government and that his party has always extended support to it in all matters.

Indian Union Muslim League General Secretary K P A Majeed said Ramachandran should have avoided making such comments.

Ramachandran drew flak from various quarters for his alleged remarks that Shailaja was trying to get the label of 'COVID Rani' (COVID Queen).

He had also said that during the Nipah outbreak, she camped in Kozhikode as a 'guest artist' and tried to become the 'Nipah Rajakumari' (Nipah princess).

As the state Congress chief stuck to his jibe against the Health Minister and refused to apologise, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had slammed the remarks as 'anti-women' and an attempt to target one leading the battle against COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Chennithala, 'The Chief Minister was cherry-picking a part of the statement made by Ramachandran.

The state Congress chief has already made it clear that it was not his style to personally insult anyone...' 'He just pointed out certain facts. We will not allow anyone to corner him and attack him,' Chennithala said.

He, however, refused to comment further on Ramachandran's remarks and said the KPCC chief had already explained his stand that he would never make any anti-women statement.

Referring to the CM's statement that they had never sought any help from the Centre for the state, the Congress leader said, '.. I have personally written 19 letters to the Prime Minister and 38 letters to the Minister of external affairs for the purpose of return of the expats.' 'We have done a lot of work for which we never seek publicity,' Chennithala said.

Chennithala claimed that the ruling party was trying to 'hide its failures' in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis in the state.

Meanwhile, Majeed told reporters that his party was of the opinion that theCongress chief should have avoided such a remark.

'However, we don't feel that it was right onpart of the Chief minister toexploit the situation and hide its failures,' he said. PTI RRT ROH ROH