THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The participation of Health Minister KK Shailaja at the ongoing eighth World Ayurveda Congress and Arogya Expo in Ahmedabad has kicked up a political row in the state. While opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged Shailaja’s participation in a programme organized by an RSS-affiliated organization has brought into light the unholy nexus between RSS and CPM, her office has clarified the programme had the support of the Ministry of AYUSH and Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS).
“The Health Minister’s clarification it is a central programme is nothing but an eyewash,” said Ramesh.
“A government order released in this regard clearly mentions the programme is organized by the World Ayurveda Foundation, an initiative of Vijnana Bharati which is affiliated to RSS,” he said, adding it is condemnable that the minister along with 16 government officials used the public money to participate in an RSS programme. He also alleged that the CPM had once come out against the programme and even called for its a boycott.
The minister’s office said that the said programme since its inception in 2002 has had the representation of successive state governments. “When this programme was first launched, the state was represented by the then Chief Minister AK Antony. The uproar that is being raised now is a malicious one and out of vested interests,” said the statement.
However, Vijnana Bharati secretary general A Jayakumar said that the controversy is an unwanted one as the programme is meant for the overall development of the AYUSH sector. At the same time, he also added that the Ayurveda Congress, as well as the expo, is the programme of Vijnana Bharati and the Ministry of AYUSH and CCRAS are playing the supportive role.
Asked if the programme was represented by health ministers from other states, he said that other than the host state only the health minister of Kerala has turned up for the programme. He added that other states were represented by AYUSH secretaries and AYUSH directors.