Thiruvananthapuram, July 5 (IANS) The nationwide shutdown called by opposition parties was total in Kerala, a Left-ruled state, with schools and colleges shut and public transportation going off the roads.
Attendance in private and government offices was minimum and all educational institutions were given a day off. Shops and markets across the state remained shut.
All university and public service commission exams scheduled for the day were also postponed.
Public transport services did not operate, much to the inconvenience of people arriving at railway stations and airports. However, private vehicles were seen plying.
Ruling Left Democratic Front legislators walked from the legislators’ hostel to the assembly, shouting slogans against the central government.
Several ministers reached the assembly on foot. During question hour, the opposition raised banners against the strike.
In the assembly, the Congress-led opposition sought leave for an adjournment motion and senior Congress leader G. Karthikeyan said that the Left government was hurting the common man by holding a second shutdown in a space of less than 10 days.
‘It is a shame that the Left is joining hands with the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) to trouble the people. This is happening at a time when thousands are suffering from fever and are finding it difficult to reach hospitals,’ said Karthikeyan.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, however, said that the number of shutdowns held by the Left was few in the last four years.
‘We are the least guilty for calling a shutdown because we do this to correct the wrong economic policies of the central government and we request you also to join us in our fight against it…We will call a shutdown again if the need arises,’ said Achuthanandan.
Before leading out the entire opposition, leader of opposition Oommen Chandy said: ‘If we were to conduct shutdowns like you do, then in the past we should have done so several times…how many times did the price of milk go up, the price of electricity has also increased and the local taxes have also been hiked by your government, but we did not call for a shutdown.’