After a brief lull, sulking Marxist veteran VS Achuthanandan upped the ante against the Left front regime, criticising on Sunday the CPI(M)-led government’s stand on self-financing medical colleges.
Dubbing the state administration’s position on the fee structure of self-financing colleges as “not correct”, he urged the government to take steps to end an indefinite hunger strike being carried out by two Congress legislators here.
MLAs Hybi Eden and Shafi Parambil are on a fast at the Assembly premises, while Anup K. Jacob of the ruling UDF’S ally Kerala Congress (Jacob) was admitted to hospital on Saturday after his condition deteriorated.
Private medical colleges in the state recently raised the fees steeply, leading the Opposition front to accuse the Pinarayi Vijayan government of “collusion”.
The allegation virtually found support from nonagenarian Achuthanandan, who said on Sunday the government was “not correct” on its stand on the fee structure.
“The state has to take immediate action to contain this anomaly,” he said.
The self-financing medical colleges in Kerala typically charge Rs 25 lakh to 35 lakh capitation fees for each medical seat. The fees in the sector went up by Rs 47,000 during the tenure of the previous CM Oommen Chandy, while the Vijayan government increased it by Rs 65,000 last week.
On Friday, Achuthanandan, a former CM, had called on the fasting legislators, embarrassing the ruling coalition.
Soon after the criticism of VS surfaced, Congress leaders asked the government to initiate talks to end the logjam. “It is time the government shed its adamant posture and talked to the agitating students,” opposition leader Ramesh Chennithal. “We hope it will consider the plea of Achuthanandan.”
On Wednesday, the Opposition had called a shutdown in Thiruvananthapuram district following a police lathi-charge on the agitating students.
Achuthanandan had last week assumed the charge of the chairman of the administrative reforms commission, but his latest position shows no change in his tirade against Vijayan, who became the CM four months ago. The 92-year-old leader, who campaigned extensively for the party ahead of May 16 polls, was upset with the party leadership overlooking his claim for CM post, though he was soon forced to fall in line.
The fee hike led the Congress-led opposition cried to disrupt the state Assembly proceedings last week, but the CM ruled out any rollback.