Kerala CPM launches relay hunger strikes

The Communist Party of India-Marxists (CPM), Kerala’s main opposition party, has commenced a relay hunger strike at about 1,400 locations across the state against the United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre. 

The agitations were aimed at the hike in prices of essential commodities along with the rise in the cost of LPG cylinders. 

The strike, held at about 10 locations in each Assembly constituency, has been attended by several of the regional leaders. CPM’s agitation also doubled as the party’s first major salvo ahead of this year’s general election.

Participants identified by the party take turns in batches to continue the hunger strike, said to be the first salvo by the Left ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. 

With cadres and supporting organisations coming together in large numbers at the strike venues, the effort is also seen as a major show of strength that would set the tone for the elections.  

Launching the agitation in Kochi, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said people’s anger against rise in prices of essential commodities would soon hit governments at the state and Centre. 

Vijayan said the UPA government at the Centre and the UDF government in the state were only committed to the interests of corporates, reflected clearly in their policies on checking price rise.

Politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and other prominent leaders of the party, including Thomas Isaac and P K Gurudasan, launched the agitation at various locations. 

Balakrishnan, while addressing party workers at the strike venue in Thiruvananthapuram, said all agitations were not bound to be successes in a veiled response to criticism that many recent stirs by the party and the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) had lost steam after aggressive starts.

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