Monday has been a busy day for Kerala’s leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. The amicable Congress leader first hit the streets of Kochi early in the morning to lead his party’s nationwide agitation against rising fuel prices. Surrounded by hundreds of Congress party workers waving flags, Chennithala officially inaugurated the protests by mounting a bullock cart, a popular move adopted by politicians to embarrass a ruling government over its fuel policy.
The LoP was accompanied by local MLAs Anwar Sadath and Hybi Eden and Ernakulam MP KV Thomas and hundreds of party workers. Shouting slogans and carrying placards, the workers moved to demonstrate their strength in an attempt to pile more pressure on the Centre to bring down fuel prices. In state capital Thiruvananthapuram, petrol prices rose by 21 paise to reach Rs 83.74 and diesel prices rose by 18 paise to reach Rs 77.67.
In Kerala, the clarion call for a bandh has been supported by the LDF as well. The CPM, CPI and other allied Left parties conducted their own agitations in different areas.
After leading the bullock cart protest, Chennithala had to rush for his son’s engagement ceremony organised at a private hotel in Kochi. However, in the spirit of the protest, Chennithala rode pillion on a fellow party worker’s scooter to the hotel even as other party MLAs and guests arrived in SUVs. The Congress leader’s son Rohit, who works as a doctor at a private hospital in Kochi, got engaged to his fiance, herself a doctor in the US. Only close family members, friends and a few politicians were invited to the function.
“In the morning, I had to lead the bandh agitation. We couldn’t defer the engagement function because it was decided almost two months ago. The upcoming month is not auspicious and it would be difficult to find a good date,” he later told a television news channel.
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