Left for shutdown in Tamil Nadu after fuel price hike

June 4th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

Chennai, June 4 (IANS) The Communist Party of India (CPI) described Wednesday’s hike in fuel prices as a “retrograde step” which it said was “the result of four years of misrule” in New Delhi. In a hard-hitting attack on the government, CPI Tamil Nadu secretary D. Pandiyan said the government decision “will trigger double digit inflation inconveniencing the common public”.

Speaking to IANS, D. Raja, the CPI national secretary, slammed what he said was “the disinformation campaign of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram” leading to the price increase.

Following calls for shutdowns in Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal, the Left allies of Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK announced a similar move here. The Left parties prop up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government.

Other political parties in the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance are also in talks with the Left for a united strike. But the DMK is not in the picture.

Members of the public were angry over the development.

“The biggest components of fuel prices are central taxes. Instead of reducing them to adjust the public sector’s losses, the central government is triggering stagflation. Our economist prime minister and Harvard educated finance minister ought to have certainly done better,” said K. Ramanathan, a chartered accountant.

K.A. Lakshmi Iyengar, a young female executive in an insurance company, termed it “national perfidy”.

“If the Indian economy is really cocooned from international fiscal pressures, why is it blaming the global rise in fuel prices as an alibi for its own shortcomings? Since all of us work on contracts with fixed dearness allowance, who is going to bridge our monthly shortfall?” she asked.

While liquefied natural gas cylinders are dearer by Rs.50 per unit, petrol and diesel will cost more by Rs.5 and Rs.3 per litre respectively, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora announced Wednesday.

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