Kerala CM's fast gets big support

Over 1,000 people back VS on endosulfan ban

Kerala CM's fast gets big support

For a cause: Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan waves during a day-long fast in  Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. PTI

Over a 1,000 people from different walks of life turned up at the Martyrs Column here to pledge their support for the 87-year-old Marxist veteran during the course of the day. They included ministers, social activists, students, religious leaders, actors and singers. Food Minister C Divakaran administered a pledge to the participants to eliminate the use of the pesticide. 

Though the Congress-led Opposition UDF dissociated from the fast saying the chief minister had politicised the issue, the UDF conducted its own separate anti-endosulfan campaign in various districts. The BJP surprisingly pledged support to the chief minister and even joined the fast.

Achuthanandan broke the fast at 5 pm by accepting lime juice from poetess Sugathakumari and spoke again lashing out at the Centre for its “callous disregard” for human sensitivities.

“It is ridiculous to say that action will be taken only when people in other states get affected and die,” he said. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who has been criticised even by the Congress received special treatment from the chief minister.

 Achuthanandan said that India’s stand against the global ban on endosulfan at the conference of parties of the Stockholm Convention was unacceptable. With the Centre clearly not in a mood to heed his demand for banning the broad spectrum pesticide widely used in crops in other states, the chief minister’s belligerence has put the Congress and UDF in a spot.

Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy and Kerala PCC president Ramesh Chennithala met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi to discuss the issue which has turned out to be a headache for the party in the state.

Singh who had called for a fresh study by the ICMR when he met an all-party delegation recently, was requested to give a timeframe for completing the study.

The leaders later told newsmen that the Prime Minister had accepted their request to speed up the study.

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