Oppn UDF lays siege to Kerala Secretariat

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF on Wednesday laid siege to the Kerala Secretariat here, accusing the Left government of corruption, administrative mismanagement and financial extravagance.

The UDF alleged the state government’s misrule has suspended development and welfare measures in the state.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan alleged that “looters were ruling the state”.

He said this while inaugurating the protest outside the Secretariat where UDF leaders, workers and supporters turned up in large numbers since early morning.

He alleged that despite the state being in financial troubles there was no reduction in the extravagant expenditures by the government.

The LoP contended that pension and DA arrears were yet to be paid, KSRTC drivers and conductors have not received salaries for the last couple of months and farmers have not been paid for grains collected from them.

Satheesan claimed that crores were spent on “welcoming a crane” at Vizhinjam port, holding district review meetings across the state and conducting the upcoming week-long Keraleeyam celebrations from November 1.

November 1 marks the formation day of the state.

He also listed out the various instances of alleged corruption by the government which included the Karuvannur bank scam case, installation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) cameras and the KFON project.

Satheesan also attacked CM Pinarayi Vijayan over financial transactions of his daughter’s firm with a private company.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief K Sudhakaran also spoke along similar lines at the protest in the heart of the capital where UDF protestors blocked access to three of the four entry gates to the Secretariat building.

However, the working of the Secretariat was not affected as the Vijayan-led state cabinet held a meeting on various issues.

Sudhakaran, also an MP, claimed that there was no law or justice in the state and alleged that under no CM has the state suffered so much as it is doing now.

Attacking Vijayan, he alleged that his government was defective and that he has not been able to achieve anything despite getting a second term in power.

The KPCC chief said that by comparison, former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy had hundreds of achievements to his credit.

All Congress leaders, including Satheesan, Sudhakaran and Congress MP K Muraleedharan, said even the Vizhinjam port was the outcome of the efforts of Chandy.

The first ever ship docked at the Rs 7,700 crore international deep-water Vizhinjam port on October 15 and was carrying ship-to-shore and yard cranes for the facility.

Sudhakaran also alleged that the present government has not been able to help anyone including farmers who were not paid for the foodgrains collected from them.

Besides the issues of corruption and mismanagement, the protest is also against the rise in fuel and electricity rates as well as prices of daily essentials, UDF said.

Police were deployed in large numbers and barricades were also in place.