Claiming that the Left-led Kerala government was "not ready to relent" over fixing of fees in the self-financing medical education sector, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) on Thursday decided to intensify its agitation.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the UDF leaders in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday evening.
The Kerala assembly, which is in session, saw yet another day of impasse, as both the government and the opposition stuck to their guns and a conciliation meeting called by Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan failed to reach a consensus.
As the conciliation talks failed, the Congress-led opposition boycotted the day's proceedings.
Meanwhile, the indefinite fast started by three opposition legislators continued for the second day on Thursday in the foyer of the assembly.
"To our surprise, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is also Leader of the House, did not take part in the talks held by the Speaker. We always felt that he would take part, but it did not happen. This is a big rip-off by the government," Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told reporters after the UDF meeting.
Reiterating his charge that the government has colluded with the private college managements, he further said: "We have decided to take the strike outside the assembly. While the legislators continue their protest inside the assembly, the UDF leaders will begin their protest in front of the Secretariat."
After calling on the legislators on an indefinite fast, state Congress President V.M. Sudheeran said Vijayan behaves in the most improper manner.
"His language and his body language smacks of arrogance and does not match the manner in which the head of a state should behave," said Sudheeran.
State Health Minister K.K. Shylaja said that even the appellate authority -- James Committee, which oversees the admission process -- has not received any complaint about the fees.
"Everything has been done keeping the interests of the students as the supreme concern," said Shylaja.
The opposition maintains that while during the entire five-year chief ministerial tenure of Oommen Chandy, the fees in the sector went up by a mere Rs 47,000, the Vijayan government has increased it by Rs 65,000 since it took over in May this year.