The CPI (M)’s decision to drop KK Shailaja, a politician who was praised for her stint as Kerala’s Health Minister, from the new cabinet has come as a shock to many and has received flak on social media. The Left Democratic Front had earlier announced that 12 CPI(M) MLAs, including KK Shailaja, will be sworn in as part of the 21-member Cabinet on May 20.
Several netizens including politicians, celebrities and citizens have expressed their criticism. Many Mollywood celebrities have taken to social media to express their concerns about the move. KK Shailaja, it must be noted, won international praise for her handling of the COVID-19 crisis. She was also instrumental in containing the Nipah outbreak in the state. On social media, people have been using trending hashtags such as #bringourteacherback ,#
Stating that it is important for people for the state to be under her able leadership, actor Parvathy Thiruvothu wrote, “#beingourteacherback @
“@CMOKeralaWe deserve better than this! #bringourteacherback One of the most able leaders of our times! A rarity, really! @shailajateacherled the state through the most difficult of medical emergencies,” Parvathy tweeted on Tuesday. Parvathy is well-known for expressing her views on social and political issues on social media. She has also extensively promoted the welfare of women workers in Mollywood.
Sharing a photo of KK Shailaja along with late communist leader KR Gouri Amma, who was similarly sidelined by the party, actor Rima Kallingal questioned why she did not get a berth in the cabinet despite a landslide victory at the recently held Assembly polls in the state. It is to be noted that KK Shailaja had won the election with the highest margin of 60,963 votes from Mattannur
Karnan fame Rajisha Vijayan shared an image of Vogue magazine’s cover story on KK Shailaja and wrote, “To give chance to new leaders is a good thought but not at the cost of such legendary leaders who played such a huge role in governing and rescuing us during some of the biggest calamities our state has faced. She deserves more. #bringbackshailajateache
Actor and filmmaker Geethu Mohandas shared an image of KK Shailaja where she is seen alongside communist leader KR Gouri, indicating that she supports KK Shailaja. However, Geethu did not pass a comment on the issue.
Vineeth Srinivasan, who has worked as a playback singer, actor, filmmaker and screenwriter in many Mollywood films, shared a photo of KK Shailaja after the news broke out, suggesting that he is against the move.
Stating that the announcement is distressing, Bangalore Days fame filmmaker Anjali Menon noted that even a high performing minister like KK Shailaja has not been selected to be a part of the new cabinet. She added that Shailaja’s growth as a politician stood as a symbol that indicated that times are changing progressively. “At a time when people need hope, confidence and faith more than ever, it is upsetting to see that a high performing minister like @shailajateacher who has won by such a majority, will not be in the cabinet as minister to do what is good for the people. She and her work have been so inspiring for many, especially women. Her growth signified to us that times are changing progressively- that merit in the individual is what matters. Or did I get that wrong?” Anjali said in an Instagram post.
Commenting on the issue, actor and singer Ramya Nambeesan wrote, “Hope the Man whose mother's day wishes was adored by one and all, wouldn't succumb. #bringbackourteacher The
Chief Minister Pinarayi had earlier won praise for sharing a progressive Mother's Day message.
Veteran actor, psychologist and TV anchor Maala Parvathi changed her display picture on Facebook and posted KK Shailaja’s photo to extend her support.
Debutant filmmaker Indhu VS, who is working on the upcoming Malayalam movie 19(1)(a), reshared Rima Kallingal’s Instagram post which reads “I mark my dissent.”
Popular television presenter Ranjini Haridas too criticised the decision on Instagram. Others including Helen fame Anna Ben, actors Kani Kusruti and Ann Augustine shared Instagram stories about the issue.
All the ministers in the outgoing LDF government have been dropped from the new cabinet. However, it is to be noted that the cabinet was and is overwhelmingly male and only a few women leaders make it to this stature in politics, considered to be a male bastion. KK Shailaja was lauded and globally recognised for efficiently handling the deadly Nipah outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic in the state of Kerala. She was also one of the most popular faces in the CPI(M)’s election campaign and had a huge role to play in the party’s electoral victory. The LDF secured 99 among 140 seats in the assembly polls.