Kerala is known for many good reasons, though a few bad reasons stand out too, among the worst being Hartal. Hartals in Kerala can be announced by anyone irrespective of power or strength, from a strong political party to an action council which may just have 5 members. All have proven successful in terms of disrupting normal life but never for the cause it ought to be. It is a irony that Kerala would be the only state in India and probably in the world were the ruling governments declare strike.
Kerala saw a glimmer of hope today. Hartal was announced by Mullaperiyar Action Council. As usual citizens around Kerala switched off their alarm clocks and awaited the unofficial holiday. School and colleges declared holiday, exams were postponed.
All of a sudden there comes the breaking news from Private Bus Owners Association[PBOA], “We aren’t going to support the hartal, we will run the buses.” People started calling their work place, bosses asked their employees to come for work, reluctantly many of them went, shops and business houses announced that they are open. By 8 am in the morning everything turned normal. The streets were as busy as it was yesterday. People starting writing on their “walls” about the change.
For the first time in the history of Kerala, a Hartal was a total failure. If only PBOA had the guts earlier, many Hartals could have been avoided. The next big question is, “Can today’s change be repeated.”
The fuel price hike is round the corner, that would just be the reason for LDF to declare another Hartal, will PBOA then have the courage to run buses? or will they support them for the sake of fuel price which hasn’t be reversed until now after repeated observances of Hartal or will they have the same attitude they showed us today?
The next Hartal will be the answer.