UDF ends fast by MLAs; Kerala assembly adjourned till Oct 17
The Congress-led UDF on Wednesday ended the ongoing fast by its MLAs in the foyer of the Kerala Assembly on the fee hike in self-financing medical colleges and said it will intensify the protest from outside even as the House was adjourned till October 17.
As the UDF opposition continued to disrupt proceedings, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan adjourned the House till October 17.
Talking to reporters after a meeting of UDF leaders here, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said they have decided to hold 'janakiya sadas' (people's meetings) in all the 14 districts on October 15 and 16 to explain the people about their agitation. "We are not ending our agitation. Future course of action will be decided at the UDF parliamentary meeting on October 17 here," he said.
To a question, he said they were ending the hunger strike in the Assembly as the House has been adjourned till October 17. Chennithala also blamed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his alleged adamant stand for the failure of talks between government and management on the issue on Tuesday. Earlier, the UDF disrupted the proceedings in the Assembly attacking the Chief Minister, following which the Speaker adjourned the House to meet on October 17.
The UDF MLAS, who came to the assembly with banners, attacked the CPI-M-led LDF government for its alleged adamant attitude in not reviewing its decision on fee hike.
On Tuesday, two MLAs–V T Balram and Roji M John (both Congress) had embarked on the hunger strike after Hibi Eden and Shafi Parambil were shifted to the hospital after their condition reportedly worsened after being on fast for seven days.
Rejecting the Opposition charge that he was not keen to end the agitation, Vijayan told the Assembly that government has its own limitations on the issue. However, he said he was prepared to hold talks with the management association yesterday, but they did not make any suggestion on fees relaxation.
"The management representatives also said that they are not ready to go back from the agreement," he added. Later talking to reporters at the Assembly media room, former chief minister Oommen Chandy and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala accused Vijayan of sabotaging 'consensus talks' by putting pressure on managements not to make any change from the fees agreed upon.
Meanwhile, Congress youth activists and BJP's youth wing took out separate protest marches in front of the secretariat demanding rollback of the hiked fees.