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Rejecting Magsaysay award was a joint decision of the party, Shailaja

- September 4, 2022

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 4 (BPNS)

Former Kerala Health minister and MLA from Mattanur assembly constituency, K.K. Shailaja said that the Ramon Magsaysay award foundation had contacted her and had sought her permission to announce the award to her in recognition of the work carried out by her as health minister of Kerala in defending Nipah and Covid diseases.  She was speaking to reporters outside the CPI-M Kerala state headquarters, AKG Centre on Sunday.

She however said that she had discussed with the party the matter as she was a Central Committee member of the CPI-M and had taken a joint decision that the award need not be accepted. She said that fight against the deadly Nipah virus and Covid -19 was done as a joint effort and not as an individual. K.K. Shailaja also said that the award is instituted by an NGO, even though it was a big award, and that generally, such NGOs don’t consider Communist parties as their allies. She also said that in addition to this the award was institutionalized in the name of Ramon Magsaysay who had used force against communist leaders in the Philippines.

In a related development, CPI-M general secretary, Sitaram Yechury told media persons in New Delhi that the decision not to accept the Magsaysay award was that of the party. When asked whether the party had denied an opportunity to Shailaja, the general secretary said, “She herself is party, she is the party central committee member which is the highest decision-making body of the CPI-M”.

He also said that what was done in Kerala to prevent Nipah and Covid was a joint effort of the department of health and the government and an individual cannot be considered for the Magsaysay award. He also said that Ramon Magsaysay had used force against communist leaders of that country and the award was institutionalized in his name. Sitaram Yechcury also said that this was the first time a political leader was considered for the award and generally it considers activists for the award and this was another reason for rejecting the award.

Yechury also said that Magsaysay was an anti-communist.