India is hosting a FIFA event for the first time in history. Political parties and all their drama, therefore, can take a back seat. Of course, certain sections of the country are facing the brunt of the newly-launched Goods and Services Tax (GST) and also age-old problems like petrol price hikes, but to protest against them at a time when the country is hosting the FIFA U-17 World Cup, seems baseless.
The message is straight: have your protests, but not at the expense of football! Don't create a problem again, please.
The United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, led by the Congress party, called for a hartal (strike) in protest against the GST rollout and its continuous pressure on the common people and also the consistent hike in fuel prices, that never seems to cease.
The strike was called on October 13. On that very day, two crucial group fixtures of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup are scheduled to take place at the JLN Stadium, Kochi. While Guinea take on Germany in the first match, the second match is scheduled between Spain and DPR Korea.
Hardly had the opposition parties in Kerala fathomed that their call for a protest would see such a huge backlash from the football fans. And rightly so!
UDF chief Ramesh Chennithala, also the leader of the Opposition mentioned on Wednesday night (October 4) that they had to defer the state-wide bandh to October 16. According to local reports, Chennithala said that owing to swift requests and criticism from football fans, he had to postpone the date of the bandh.
Fixtures info: JLN Stadium, Kochi
|Oct 7||Brazil vs Spain||5 pm IST|
|DPR Korea vs Niger||8 pm IST|
|Oct 10||Spain vs Niger||5 pm IST|
|DPR Korea vs Brazil||8 pm IST|
|Oct 13||Guinea vs Germany||5 pm IST|
|Spain vs DPR Korea||8 pm IST|
|Oct 18||R16||8 pm IST|
|Oct 22||QF||5 pm IST|