In reaction to Union minister V Muraleedharan's remark that Kerala's "over confidence" in handling COVID-19 cases had led to a spurt in infections in two districts, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today said the comment shows his "ignorance."
"I don't believe that a central minister will say this. If he has said so, it shows his ignorance. Such a response is totally unbecoming of a Union minister. I do not believe he will say something like that. The state has taken a decision on the zones after serious discussions," Mr Vijayan said.
Mr Muraleedharan had in a Facebook post on April 28 said that "over confidence of Kerala" in handling the pandemic had led to spike in coronavirus cases in Idukki and Kottayam districts.
Earlier in the day, state Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran, wanted Mr Muraleedharan, minister of state for External affairs, to instead evaluate the situation in Gujarat,Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, where coronaviruscases are on the rise, and to concentrate on bringing back expatriates stuck in various countries.
In the post, Mr Muraleedharan had said that Kerala was "on cloud nine" when it declared Idukki and Kottayam as two districts in the green zone.
"However, hours after this we saw a spurt in fresh cases in these districts.The government was not cautious and instead went applauding themselves and landed in trouble. Instead of engaging in PR activities, they should have concentrated in handling the pandemic," he said.
Slamming the union minister and BJP leader for his comments, Mr Surendran asked him to urge other states to follow the Kerala model.
"Gujarat is the home state of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and COVID-19 cases are on the rise there. Most of the major cities in the country are badly affected by the pandemic. The national capital Delhi is right under their nose.They have all the power and authority to do whatever they want. Still the contagion is uncontrollable there," Mr Surendran said.
If there were some shortcomings on Kerala's part in handling the COVID-19 fight, anyone, including the union minister, can point it out, he added.
Most districts in Kerala share borders with other states, Mr Surendran said and referred to Idukki which has numerous forest paths to the state from Tamil Nadu.
"Some of the people who are affected in Kerala came from other states. There are many cases in Ahmedabad. Is it because that city is not under lockdown?" he asked.
The Union minister should have understood the reality before making such comments, he said.