THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hit out at Union Minister of State V Muraleedharan, accusing him of being part of a campaign to paint the state as being hostile to expatriates. Pinarayi also indirectly warned the Union minister that it was not proper to play politics using the health of people during the time of a crisis.Pinarayi said Muraleedharan had on March 11 said that if Covid-infected people are brought in flights along with non-infected people, the chances of virus transmission was high. He said the Union minister later backtracked from that stance. He added that Kerala had, even at that juncture, insisted that infected and non-infected people should be brought separately.
Pinarayi also reminded Muraleedharan of his statement on May 5 in which he said that all expats will be brought to the state only after conducting Covid-19 tests. He said the Union minister, who made such a statement, is now creating a big hue and cry over Kerala’s insistence on tests.The chief minister also sought to know from Muraleedharan what prompted him to change his stance on Covid-19 tests for expatriates.
Following the Chief Minister’s criticism, Muraleedharan took to Twitter to flay the state’s insistence on Covid-19 negative certificate for expatriates.“Pinarayi Vijayan’s decision to make Covid-19 certificates mandatory for expatriate Malayalees is anti-people, discriminatory and ill-conceived,” Muraleedharan tweeted. The Unioin Minister said such a condition defeats the sole purpose of repatriation during the pandemic. The state should focus on testing and quarantining all the returnees, he demanded.