In a stinging remark against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Friday, asked the former to tackle COVID-19 scientifically and not through public relations excercise.
The war of words between the two has been going on for a while and ahead of Vijayan’s daily Covid press review briefing on Thursday. Muraleedharan slammed the way Vijayan is going ahead by drawing new rules and insisting on Covid negative certificates, when a state government cannot determine the rules and overrule the Centre.
Replying to this barb, Vijayan said that he failed to understand what was wrong with Muraleedharan and when the Centre understands things, Muraleedharan fails to do so.
And soon after Vijayan’s press meet ended, the state government released a statement which said that the Centre had complimented the state government for its pragmatic approach by taking measures like asking all the returning diaspora to come wearing masks, face shields and gloves.
Taking note of this, Muraleedharan on Friday slammed the Vijayan government for misleading all, through its Public Relations (PR) exercise.
“On the 24th of June, the Centre had written to the Kerala government that it would not be possible to have a separate rule for one state and hence it cannot approve the demand of the state government, which insisted on a Covid negative certificate for all arriving diaspora from the Middle East. In reply to that, the state government had written that they will ask for the arriving passengers to wear the PPE kit, face shield, masks and gloves.
“On 25th June, the Centre wrote to the state complimenting the state government for its pragmatic approach. What the PR division did was they did not put out the Centre’s reply on 24th, instead it came out with the reply given on the 25th. The least what Vijayan should do is to put people who understand English in the PR team, who will be able to differentiate between compliment and congratulation,” said Muraleedharan.
“We do take part in webinars being organised across the globe these days. The other day a mere participation (by State Health Minister K. K.Shailaja in a webinar organised by the UN) was perceived to be a great achievement. Such are the ways of the PR,” added Muraleedharan.
Muraleedharan said that he wished that Vijayan would use the time and money spend on the PR exercises to fight Covid.
“Kerala today is ranked 28th in the list of states in the country in the tests being conducted on Covid. Under 5,000 numbers are only tested in a day in Kerala. The need of the hour is to concentrate to increase the tests and stop engaging in the PR exercise,” said Muraleedharan.