Special Correspondent

UDF says government has neglected development needs of capital

Thiruvananthapuram: The war of words between the ruling and Opposition fronts continued on Monday, the eve of the district-wide hartal called by the action council to highlight the demand for a High Court Bench in the capital city.

The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) district committee accused the Left Democratic Front (LDF) leadership of surrendering to pressure from external forces and letting down the 249-day agitation in support of the Bench.

K. Mohankumar, chairman of the committee, said the decision of the LDF to pull out of the hartal was ample evidence of the neglect shown by the State government to the development needs of the capital.

Lame excuses

Mr. Mohankumar said the LDF was finding lame excuses to wriggle out of the stir under pressure from forces inimical to the development of the capital. He said the Congress had been consistent in its support for the agitation.

“The government knows very well that a High Court Bench can be established only with the consent of the Chief Justice,” he said.

Mr. Mohankumar alleged that the LDF had supported the campaign for a High Court Bench only to make political capital out of the issue. “They have succumbed to pressure from external forces and betrayed the agitation,” he said.

It is up to the Chief Minister to open discussions with the Chief Justice and work out a consensus. He said the LDF had failed to raise the issue during the agitation against the Centre in New Delhi and in front of the Raj Bhavan.

Criticising the move to earmark the old Collectorate building at Vanchiyoor for the High Court Bench, he wondered how the structure could accommodate the required facilities.

Mr. Mohankumar said the State government was yet to initiate the administrative and legal proceedings for the Bench. Asked about the half-yearly school examinations scheduled for Tuesday, he said most of the schools had rescheduled the examinations.

Beemapally Rashid and M.P. Saju, UDF leaders, were present. The District Congress Committee will stage a dharna in front of the Secretariat on Tuesday to protest against the failure of the LDF government to take steps for the establishment of the Bench. A press note issued by the action council said milk supply, newspapers, wedding ceremonies, medical stores and other emergency services would be exempted from the dawn-to-dusk hartal.

Black day

The LDF has announced that it would observe a black day on Tuesday against the Centre’s failure to sanction the Bench for the State capital. LDF workers will stage a dharna in front of the office of the Accountant-General at Statue.