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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Explained: Who is Mullappally Ramachandran? What was the context of his misogynistic remarks?

Seven-time Lok Sabha MP Ramachandran became the Kerala state president of the Congress party in September 2018. This is not the first time the 75-year-old Congress leader has landed in controversy over his anti-women comments.

Written by Shaju Philip , Edited by Explained Desk | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: November 3, 2020 8:40:01 am
The state Congress chief's comments were allegedly aimed at a woman involved in the solar scandal who recently accused a Congress leader of rape

The state president of Kerala Congress, Mullappally Ramachandran, made headlines on Sunday for his misogynistic remarks at a protest in Thiruvananthapuram. Ramachandran said “a woman who has self-respect would die if raped”. “She should at least ensure that she is not violated again,” he said.

The state Congress chief’s comments were allegedly aimed at a woman accused in the 2016 solar scam, who recently charged a former Congress minister with rape. Though Ramachandran quickly offered an apology, the state women’s commission has slapped a case against him.

Who is Mullappally Ramachandran?

Seven-time Lok Sabha MP Ramachandran became the Kerala state president of the Congress party in September 2018. His first election to Lok Sabha was in 1984 from Kannur, which he won four more times but lost in 1999 to CPI (M)’s then young leader A P Abdullakutty.

In 2009 and 2014, he represented Vatakara constituency, once considered a CPI (M) stronghold. In the second UPA government in 2009, Ramachandran was a minister of state for home.

Ramachandran remained neutral in the Kerala Congress politics, which was divided between two groups. This is not the first time the 75-year-old Congress leader has landed in controversy over his anti-women comments.

In June this year, while addressing a meeting in protest against alleged government failure in handling he Covid-19 situation, Ramachandran had dubbed Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja as “Covid Queen” and “Nipah Rajakumari”.

Addressing a gathering in Thiruvananthapuram, Ramachandran had said, “Our health minister camped there (Kozhikode) as a guest artist (during Nipah outbreak of 2018). Now the government is taking credit. And just the way she is making efforts to get the title of ‘Covid Rani’, she then competed to earn the title ‘Nipah Princess'”. 📣 Express Explained is now on Telegram

What is the solar scam?

The solar scam, which Ramachandran referred to in his Sunday address, had haunted the previous UDF regime led by Oomen Chandy.

Exposed in 2013, the story starts with a couple, Biju Radhakrishan and Saritha S Nair, duping several persons after promising to give them solar energy solutions or to make them partners in windmill projects.

The government exchequer did not suffer any loss in the cheating scandal. Most of those duped only wanted their money back or wanted to hide the fact that they were cheated.

However, the scam rattled the Congress over the relations Nair had maintained – both real and alleged – with some Congress leaders, ministers, CM’s personal staff, bureaucrats and police officers.

Her mobile phone details revealed the extent of her network in Kerala’s political and bureaucratic circles, with some of those men smitten by the young woman.

Several leaders, state ministers and former union ministers were among those who reportedly had close links with her. She had once described her story as the fate of a woman entrepreneur, abused and cheated by politicians she met.

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