Thiruvananthapuram: The nationwide strike, called by various trade unions in protest against the BJP-led NDA government's economic policies, was near total in Left-ruled Kerala on Thursday with shops downing the shutters and state-owned KSRTC buses keeping away from roads.

The normal life in the southern state affected as the 24 -hour-long agitation, called by a central committee of joint trade unions, hit all major sectors including government offices, banking, and insurance.

All government offices and major business establishments remained closed across Kerala, the lone state in the country ruled by a Marxist government.

Private buses, auto-rickshaws, and taxis kept off from the road while private vehicles could be seen plying everywhere cutting across villages and cities.

As Sabarimala pilgrims were exempted from the strike, KSRTC buses, operated in the hill temple route, ferried devotees as usual.

In some districts, tiny shop owners could be seen complaining that the closure of business would make their life further worsen in the wake of the dull economic situation after the Coronavirus outbreak.

In the wake of the widespread virus infection, major trade unions kept themselves away from organizing mass rallies, in which thousands of workers in the state participated.

Instead of that, they organized protest gatherings and human chains across Kerala.

Leaders and workers took part in the state-level inauguration of the protest by the center of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) at the Gandhi Park here, following social distancing.

Trade unions like Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC) and Self-Employed Women''s Association (SEWA) are part of the strike.

BJP-aligned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), however, is not participating in the strike.

The strike has been called to protest the new farm and labor laws and also to raise various demands, a statement issued by the trade unions said.

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Brisbane: Rain disrupted play in the last session on the fourth day of the final Test between India and Australia here on Monday.

This was after India dismissed Australia for 294 in their second innings. The visitors have been set a target of 328.

India were 4/0 in 1.5 overs when rain caused the halt.

Earlier, Steve Smith top-scored for Australia with a blistering 55, while opener David Warner hit 48 at the top. The series is currently tied at 1-1 and India will retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy if Australia fail to win the ongoing match.