After around 80 local and Statewide hartals this year, Kerala would be paralysed for another day as part of the nation-wide general strike.
This time, the organisers would not be content with blocking road traffic. They would picket trains in all districts through which a railway line passes.
None can dispute the right of workers to go on strike and the farmers to support such an action. However, the strike is obviously politically motiviated. Little doubt that it is being organised with an eye on the coming Lok Sabha elections.
Hardly any of the issues raised by the trade unions such as neoliberal policies of the Government are urgent in nature. As the election is near, what the left parties should have done is to promise a change in policy and better deal for farmers, if they elect the third front to power. The demands should be specifically incorporated into the election manifesto as promises. It should also clarify stand on other policy issues such as special economic zones.
Then, campaign for victory and support of the people for the change in policies. If the people support the demands, the third front would be elected to power. Then, there will be no need for general strikes. If defeated, the Left should respect the verdict of the people (in favour of liberalization and nuclear deal).