Public transport, barring flight services, came to a grinding halt across Kerala on Tuesday due to the dawn-to-dusk nationwide strike called by the Left parties to protest rising prices.
As opposed to previous strikes, the Left parties said they would not allow even trains to ply across the state. Left supporters sat on railway tracks, causing the normal schedule of trains to go haywire.
A few passenger trains were cancelled and most long distance trains were late. Angry passengers had a verbal duel with the protesters at Kozhikode railway station.
"Where is Kerala heading, this is something unacceptable and never happens anywhere else. Why are these politicians so insensitive and what do they gain by putting the common man to trouble?" said an angry passenger who arrived from Chennai and was waiting to go home, about 80 km from the Ernakulam railway station.
State road transport buses did not operate. Only Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) vehicles and buses of IT companies were on the road, that too under tight police security.
All shops and establishments were closed. The public examination and interviews of the State Public Service Commission could not take place.
Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy said: "This attitude should change immediately because we are living in an age where a favourable climate has to be created for fresh investments for opening up new jobs."
Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, when asked about people's woes because of the strike, shot back saying: "Look all across the country. People are suffering due to price rise."
"This issue is coming up in Parliament also. We are concerned about the spiralling price rise that the country is experiencing," Balakrishnan said.
The state secretariat wore a deserted look as state government employees went on a "paid holiday".