Thiruvananthapuram: It was an early start to the day for Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and five of his ministers who reached office at 5 am on Tuesday to avoid a confrontation with CPI-M workers protesting rising prices outside the secretariat.

The other ministers arrived soon after, and by 8 am, the Chandy cabinet held its customary weekly meeting.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist had announced a blockade of the secretariat to protest against the rise in the prices of essential commodities.

By 5.30 am, CPI-M party workers arrived to take up positions around the secretariat.

The CPI-M is holding similar blockades in all the other 13 district headquarters.

Kicking off the protest, CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan recalled the good period during 2006-11, when their government led by VS Achuthanandan was in office.

Pointing out that things were smooth during the Left rule, he said: "Today, after 15 months of the Chandy government, things have gone from bad to worse... by now, 60 farmers have taken their lives. Everything is in shambles simply because this government has no commitment to the people of the state, unlike our government."

(Agencies)

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