Parties slam govt for fuel price hike, demand roll back

Political parties, including the Left and BJP, today came down heavily on the government for striking “another blow” on the common man by hiking the fuel price and staged demonstrations in many parts of the country demanding its immediate rollback.

Slamming the government for the hike, the Left parties asked all their units to immediately conduct hartals, demonstrations and other protest actions. The CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said it was “another cruel blow” to the common people as the increase in diesel price would raise transportation cost and affect farmers, while those in kerosene and LPG cylinders would burden the poor.

CPI National Secretary D Raja accused the government of kneeling down before market forces and corporate houses and demanded immediate roll back of prices. The Central government yesterday increased diesel price by Rs 3 per litre, domestic LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder and kerosene by Rs 2 per litre.

In the national capital, BJP activists marched towards Parliament but were prevented by police who resorted to use of water canons to disperse the protesters.

The activists tried to jump the barricade and march towards Parliament but police deployed in large numbers prevented them. When the protesters did not stop, police resorted to use of water canons.

Chanting slogans against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA president Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, they alleged price rise have broken the back of common man.The activists also courted arrest.

The ruling SAD in Punjab and main opposition INLD in Haryana slammed the Centre for effecting “hefty and unwarranted” hike in fuel prices, terming the decision as “anti-people” and demanded a rollback.

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said the UPA government “deliberately hastened the oil price hike as it feared that crashing crude prices every day would leave no justification for diesel, kerosene and LPG price hike.”

He said the price hike would have direct bearing on farmers besides having a cascading effect on inflation. INLD’s secretary general Ajay Singh Chautala
criticised the move saying, “The step has once again exposed the anti-people face of the Congress. The hike would further increase inflation and common-man would be directly affected.”

Terming the price hike as an act of ‘economic terrorism’, the BJP unit in Jalandhar accused the Union government of trying to benefit oil marketing companies at the cost of the common man.

In Jammu, Shiv Sena activists holding gas-cylinders, kerosene stoves and earthen stoves staged a demonstration against the hike. Over 200 Sena activists led by J-K Shiv Sena unit president Ashok Gupta also raised anti-UPA slogans. “The price rise in the past has already hit the financial backbone of the common man,” Gupta said, adding the government should roll back the price. In Kerala, Left parties and BJP staged demonstrations to protest against the hike while private bus operators threatened to organise a one-day strike on June 29.

Workers of CPI-M’s youth wing DYFI blocked a passenger train at Kannur as part of their state-wide protest against the hike. BJP workers took out marches in the state capital and other centres condemning the price increase.

Criticising the move, JDS chief H D Deve Gowda alleged the Centre’s action in reducing excise and customs duty was done to benefit oil companies. “When prices of petroleum products remained stable at USD 90 per barrel in International market in the last four or five months, where is the need for going in for price hike?,” the former Prime Minister asked.