Fasting Kerala legislator shifted to hospital

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 1 (IANS) Kerala opposition legislator Anup K. Jacob, who was on an indefinite fast in the foyer of the state assembly, was shifted to hospital after his health deteriorated on Saturday.

Jacob was on fast along with two other legislators. It was the fourth day of the fast on Saturday with the Congress-led opposition up in arms alleging that there was collusion between the state government led by Pinarayi Vijayan and the private medical college managements, who raised the fees steeply.

Jacob is a former minister in the Oommen Chandy cabinet and son of late former minister T.M. Jacob and is the lone member of the Kerala Congress (Jacob), an ally of the United Democratic Front.

The money being collected as capitation fees by managements for a medical seat ranges between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 35 lakh. While the fees in the sector went up by Rs 47,000 (during the five-year tenure of the previous Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy), the Vijayan government has increased it by Rs 65,000 since the new government took office in May this year.

The opposition has been demanding that the Vijayan government reduce the fees and since Monday the assembly has not had a full day’s sitting. But the state government has ruled out any roll back of fees.

“Anup’s health is not good and he has been moved to the hospital, but the two other Congress legislators – Hybi Eden and Shafi Parambil – will continue their fast,” said leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala who was present when Jacob was shifted to the state run Medical College Hospital.

State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran who visited Jacob at the hospital warned Vijayan that the UDF will not bow before his arrogance and talks should be held by him to end this impasse.