Left parties to hold week-long protest over fuel price hike

June 4th, 2008 - 6:25 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) India’s Left parties announced a week-long protest beginning Thursday against the increase of petroleum products’ prices, alleging that the Congress-led government has not considered alternate proposals that would avoid burdening the common man. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left parties that prop Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government also asked it to review the decision to hike the prices of petrol by Rs.5 per litre, diesel by Rs.3 per litre and cooking gas by Rs.50 per cylinder.

“This onslaught on the people comes at a time when they are suffering from the steep price rise of all essential commodities. In the background of the failure of the government to tackle the rising rate of inflation, this hike in petroleum prices will further aggravate the inflationary situation,” the four parties - the CPI-M, the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Forward Bloc (FB) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) - said in a joint statement Wednesday.

The Left leaders were livid that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government ignored the alternative proposals suggested by them.

“It is to be noted that the government has refused to impose a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas extracting companies and the private oil refineries. The spectacle of these companies reaping huge profits while the common people are burdened with huge price increases will not be lost on the people,” the statement said.

The Left called for a “powerful countrywide” protest movement against the price hike from Thursday to June 11.

“The Left parties will mobilise the people to conduct hartals, strikes, picketing, rail roko (stop the train), rasta roko (block the roads) and demonstrations to register the people’s protest against this unjustified burden,” said the statement signed by general secretaries Prakash Karat (CPI-M), A.B. Bardhan (CPI), Debabrata Biswas (FB) and T.J. Chandrachoodan (RSP).

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