UPA government has signed death warrant by petro hike: Advani (Roundup)

June 5th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has signed its “death warrant” with the fuel price hike, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charged Thursday as it held demonstrations, burnt effigies of the prime minister and observed the day as Black Day in several states to protest the rise in petroleum prices. “The UPA government has in a way signed its own death warrant with this petroleum hike,” BJP leader L.K. Advani said in Pune.

The government Wednesday hiked by Rs.5 the prices of petrol, Rs.3 of diesel and Rs.50 per cooking gas cylinder to offset losses of petroleum firms after the spiralling global prices of crude.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy lashed out against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement to the nation Wednesday night after the hike was announced. “The PM’s statement is contradictory as he states that the scarcity and rise of food grain prices across the world has resulted in high cost, while on the other hand he claims that there is no grain shortage with sufficient food stocks in the country,” Rudy said.

“The PM’s speech seems a prelude to an impending economic emergency. Talks of rationing petrol and LPG (cooking gas) are already doing the rounds,” he added.

Arguing that this hike will lead to double-digit inflation, Rudy said: “The direct impact of petrol prices and the cascading effect of diesel used for transportation of steel, cement, food grains, and edible oils will have a disastrous overall impact.”

“The track record of the prime minister even as a finance minister earlier has been synonymous with inflation and Dr. Manmohan Singh is now truly ‘Dr. Mahangai Singh’,” Rudy said.

BJP sources said party president Rajnath Singh has urged the chief ministers of states where his party is in power to lower the sales tax on petrol, diesel and cooking gas to mitigate the effect of the price rise.

The BJP supporters held demonstrations in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mysore, Bhopal and Ranchi, among other cities.

In Bhopal, BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and many of his cabinet ministers rode on bicycles from his residence to the state secretariat located five kilometres away.

“The prime minister is more concerned about the loss to oil companies than the common man. This is a blow to the people,” Chauhan said.

In Hyderabad, BJP leaders took out a bullock-cart procession to register their protest. In Ranchi, demonstrators - led by BJP MLA C.P. Singh - burnt the effigy of the prime minister. “This is a black day for the country,” Singh said.

In Karnataka, where a BJP government was formed on May 30, the BJP supporters came out in big numbers to protest. In the capital city of Bangalore, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar led the protests.

Protests were also held in Mysore.

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was critical of the hike.

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