: The Opposition UDF staged a walkout from the Assembly on Monday accusing the LDF of having made the people of Kerala �captives with its second hartal in 10 days.
Mounting a strong attack on the government for what they termed its failure to offer protection to the people who wished to go about with their various vocations and studies, the Opposition leaders alleged that the hartal had been called only to divert public attention from embarrassing issues such as Health Minister P.K. Sreemathys visit to the U.S. at a time when the State was reeling under a vicious viral fever outbreak, National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe against IG of Police Tomin J. Thachankary and the controversy over the Kerala High Court ban on wayside meetings.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, however, rejected the Opposition contentions and said the LDF did not regret having called the second hartal. Any number of hartals would be necessary to convey to the Centre the heavy impact of its decision to hike the prices of petroleum products on the lives of the people of Kerala.
The ruling alliance could not help doing it because the Congress in Kerala was not making even a single move or using its clout with the Centre to do so, he added.
The Chief Minister pointed out that 13 State-wide hartals had taken place after the LDF assumed office. Of these, six were called by the BJP, two each by the UDF and the LDF, one by the CPI(ML) and two by other organisations.