Not for the first time, Kerala Industries and Sports Minister E P Jayarajan finds himself at the receiving end for making a thoughtless statement.
He implied that industrialists in Kerala should support hartals because if they don’t, it would spoil the positive business sentiment that exists in the state and also make labourers unhappy, as they would take exception to it.
Jayarajan said this on Thursday at Kollam where he was addressing an investors’ meet held under the aegis of the Kerala State Small Industries Association (KSSIA).
He added that if small-scale industries were excluded from hartals, it would be more harmful than beneficial for the sector.
“Sometimes, even the industrialists and investors would be forced to strike work to bring their demands to the state’s notice,” he said.
“Currently, no labor unions are staging protests to seek hike in wages. Laborers are even ready to wages. Labourers are even ready to work extra hours to make industry more profitable.”
“People resort to hartal as a mark of protest when governments use their powers wrongly,” Jayarajan added.
On June 5, Jayarajan had described legendary boxer Muhammad Ali as a Keralite after his passing, and got trolled extensively for his gaffe.
Jayarajan had then remarked, "I came to know only now that Muhammad Ali had died in America. Ali was a prominent personality in Kerala's sports scenario. He had won several gold medals for Kerala and had taken our state's fame sky high. I wish to convey Kerala's sorrow and the sorrow of the state's sport lovers."
However, he apologized and admitted his “mistake” a day later.