National

All-party meet to discuss restrictions in Kerala

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 25, 2021

File photo   -  S Gopakumar

May decide to extend them until May 2

An all-party meeting being convened here on Monday is expected to take a decision on whether the ongoing weekend restrictions amounting to a mini lockdown should be persisted with until May 2 when Assembly elections will be announced, and possibly for another week as well.

Expectations are that the restrictions will continue with adverse implications for the larger trade and labour sectors, and which could raise livelihood issues in the state. Already, there is widespread concern among the trade over early closure enforced by the police and other interference in routine business.

Trade expresses concern

The trade has requested that shops and establishments be allowed to remain open until 9 pm in the night (as against 7.30 pm when restrictions are in place) and a curfew declared after 10 pm. Hotel owners too had raised demand that they be allowed to do business at least until 9 pm.

Both the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and majority partner CPI(M) have no difference of opinion that the ongoing restrictions continue given the rapid rise in daily new Covid-19 cases, but without precipitating a full-blown lockdown. Opposition Congress too seems to have converged on this view.

Near political consensus

The United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress has already made it known that it would call for a total ban on victory celebrations after the Assembly election results are announced. The state unit of the BJP has announced that it would support the regime of restrictions that does not amount to a lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Election Commission has increased the number of votes counting centres ahead of May 2 among a series of measures it contemplates for the smooth conduct of business on the day subject to full and strict compliance of the mandated Covid-19 protocol, sources said.

Published on April 25, 2021

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