Political parties slam hike in fuel prices

June 4th, 2008 - 5:00 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) The Left, which supports Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday took the lead in condemning the hike in fuel prices. “This is an economic terror unleashed on the country. By increasing prices, the prime minister has put another burden on the people,” said BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

“This will cause an upheaval,” he said. “It is a black day for the country.”

The government announced earlier that the prices of petrol and diesel had been raised by Rs.5 and Rs.3 a litre. Each cylinder of cooking gas would cost Rs.50 more.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora insisted that these were not steep increases.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat disagreed, saying this was “a substantial increase” and warned that it would further push up prices of food and other essential commodities.

“It will aggravate the inflationary pressure caused by price rise. People are already suffering from price rise of essential commodity. They should have decreased the excise and custom duties on petroleum,” he said.

Karat demanded that the “windfall profit made by oil companies should be checked”.

The CPI-M announced a countrywide protest and a 12-hour shutdown in Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal Thursday.

Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary A.B. Bardhan announced a string of protests that would include “hartals, strikes, picketing, rail roko, rasta roko and demonstrations”. He called the hikes an “unjustified burden”.

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