Life normal in Karnataka despite protests against costly fuel

June 5th, 2008 - 10:57 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Bangalore, June 5 (IANS) India’s IT hub Bangalore and the rest of Karnataka showed little signs of being derailed by Wednesday’s fuel price hike, which has made petrol and diesel in the city the costliest in the country. Bangalore roads were as usual choc-a-bloc with public and private vehicles. Educational institutions, commercial establishments, banks and offices functioned normally. There were similar reports from other major towns like Mangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Shimoga and Gulbarga.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) staged demonstrations in Bangalore and several towns to protest the hike announced by the central government.

The BJP protest in Bangalore was led by party general secretary from Karnataka H.N. Ananth Kumar.

Criticising the Manmohan Singh government, he said it was in sharp contrast to the way the previous BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) handled the issue of rising crude prices in the international market.

The CPI-M and the SUCI organised separate demonstrations in front the Bangalore city corporation office.

The Communist Party of India did not organise any protest Thursday but plans a demonstration along with other Left groups Monday or Tuesday, a spokesperson said.

A CPI-M spokesperson said the party staged demonstrations in several parts of Karnataka including the coastal town of Mangalore and Gulbarga and at Gadag in the north.

BJP workers in Mysore and other places also staged demonstrations.

The new BJP chief minister in Karnataka strongly criticised the hike Wednesday evening but refused to lower state taxes to provide relief to the people as suggested by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The hike in diesel prices is likely to result in an increase in the cost of travel within Karnataka by the state-run transport service. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corp may propose to the state government a 10 percent hike in fares.

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