M A I N   N E W S

‘Neglect’ by Centre
Kerala ministers protest in Delhi

New Delhi, October 17
In an unprecedented anti-Centre move, Kerala chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan and his cabinet colleagues of the Left Democratic Front government today took out a “Parliament march” and staged a ‘dharna’ in the capital to protest the Centre’s “gross negligence” of the state.

Eighty-three-year-old Achuthanandan led the marchers, who also included MPs and MLAs of the LDF from Kerala, from the Kerala House to Jantar Mantar, where they staged a ‘dharna’ in the special ‘pandal’ erected there. The marchers, holding placards were also shouting anti-Centre slogans.

Heading the protest, CPM general-secretary Prakash Karat asked the Centre to take the agitation by the Kerala government seriously as the ruling LDF enjoyed two-third majority in the state legislature.

He said the Manmohan Singh government had adopted a negligent attitude towards the Left-ruled Kerala despite repeated representations made to the Prime Minister by the government and all-party delegations.

Karat demanded that the Centre restore the substantial cut effected in the state’s ration rice quota, besides doing away with the categorisation of the ration card holders as APL and BPL.

Accusing the Centre of over-concentration of powers, he said it should share more powers with the states. “There is a need for a change in the Centre-state relations with the states getting more powers.”

Achuthanandan said the state government was left with no option but to come to Delhi to highlight its genuine demands. He said there was no justification for the undue delay on the Centre’s part to concede the genuine and rightful demands of the state government and correct some of its policies which had proved detrimental to the interests of Kerala.

The agitation, which was timed with the opening day of the 22-day-long sitting of the Parliament, comes three months after the Left fell out with the ruling Congress at the Centre and withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh government on the Indo-US nuclear deal. — UNI



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