Opposition parties warned the government of stronger and more widespread agitations in the days to come if it did not change its policies

Mounting a scathing attack on the policies of the United Democratic Front (UDF), the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) has asked the Oommen Chandy government to quit if it cannot hold the price line.

The Opposition alliance, which organised a day-long fast by its entire leadership in front of the Secretariat here on Monday, accused the government of having heaped misery on the common people by dismantling the State’s public distribution system, pushing the public sector and traditional industries into crisis, leading the healthcare and education sector to total disarray, and pushing the globalisation and liberalisation policies with a vengeance.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, who inaugurated the fast, and Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] State unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, who delivered the concluding address, warned the government of stronger and more widespread agitations in the days to come if it did not change its policies. While Mr. Achuthanandan went so far as to tell the government to quit if it could not hold the prices, Mr. Vijayan said the government would face the wrath of the people as and when the time came.

Those in government were concerned only about sharing the spoils of power and cornering positions in their parties. This had resulted in the formation of a jumbo Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), which had 21 general secretaries and 42 secretaries and the 14 districts getting divided between the ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups.

There was no let up in the anti-people policies of the government and all the positive deeds of the last LDF government had been undone by the UDF, which had little concern for the people, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

Mr. Vijayan took the government to task for what he termed its anti-people and pro-rich policies. The State’s land laws were being flouted to enable the rich to amass land holdings and every sphere of economic and social activity was faced with serious setbacks because of the policies being pursued by the UDF government. According to figures furnished by the government in the Assembly, as many as 1,600 rapes had taken place in the State and 200 children had undergone sexual abuse during the past 11 months. The State’s secular social fabric had suffered serious damage under the UDF, forcing some Congress leaders to come out strongly against the way their party had contributed to this process, he said.

Hundreds of Opposition activists kept streaming into the venue of the fast all through the day to greet the leaders, MPs, and MLAs. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan of the CPI(M), Pannian Ravindran and C. Divakaran of the Communist Party of India, A.A. Aziz of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, Mathew T. Thomas of the Janata Dal (Secular), Kadannappally Ramachandran of the Congress(S), and V. Surendran Pillai of the Kerala Congress spoke.