Thiruvananthapuram: Congress MLAs Hibi Eden and Shafi Paramil were shifted to hospital on the sixth day of their hunger strike protesting against the hike in the medical tuition fees granted by the LDF government. They were replaced by Congress MLAs V. T. Balram and Roji M. John who started their indefinite fast before the Assembly. The Opposition has continued to boycott the Assembly session beginning with question hour.
The two MLAs were shifted to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College around 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday on medical advice. They were carried to the waiting ambulance at the footsteps of the Assembly by Hibi’s wife Anna Linda and several MLAs, including Oommen Chandy, Dr. M. K. Muneer, K. M. Shaji, Anwar Sadath and V. D. Satheeshan.
Later, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that if not for the adamant stand taken by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the agitation would have been settled. “In the wake of the failure of talks, the UDF MLAs will continue their strike. Pinarayi Vijayan’s adamant stand led to the failure of the talks. Unfortunately, the state has never seen a chief minister like him. Though the self-financing college managements were willing to reduce the fees, Pinarayi was unwilling,” said Mr Chennithala.
He also demanded that legislation should be brought forth to pin down the self-financing college management association. Muslim League MLAs P. Ubaidulla and T. V. Ibrahim have also lent support to the two fasting MLAs. The Youth Congress will take out a protest march before the secretariat on Wednesday. Collectorate marches across the state will be held on Thursday. The UDF will meet at Cantonment House on Thursday evening.
Earlier in the morning, Mr Chennithala informed the speaker when the question hour started that since the condition of the two Congress MLAs (Shafi and Hibi) had worsened, they were not ready to take part in the Assembly proceedings and walked out. KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran said here in a statement that Mr Pinarayi was acting as a dictator. He alleged that it was due to his high-handedness that the indefinite fast by the UDF MLAs was continuing....