UPA allies, Oppn parties seek rollback of diesel price hike
Making a strong pitch for immediate rollback of hike in diesel price, UPA allies and opposition parties have threatened to take to the streets with Samajwadi Party saying it will "not hesitate to take stern steps".
While the Congress party termed the government's decision as one "forced" upon it due to rise in international crude oil prices, a Congress Chief Minister demanded a partial rollback.
Terming the step as "undemocratic", Samajwadi Party general secretary Naresh Agarwal, whose party is supporting the UPA government from outside, said his party "has never and will never support this government on the issue of price rise. If need be we will not hesitate to take any kind of stern steps." He said, "We will oppose this hike and take to the streets."
UPA ally and Trinamool Congress has opposed the diesel price increase and curb on purchase of subsidised cooking gas cylinders and its chief Mamata Banerjee is set to lead a street rally in Kolkata on Saturday demanding their rollback.
DMK, another UPA ally, has termed the price hike as "very high" and unexpected and sought a rollback. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, who party supports the UPA, said that the government's decision was "unfortunate" and sought its reconsideration while BSP chief Mayawati demanded immediate rollback of the "anti-people decision".
Describing the move as a cruel joke and "mortal blow" on the common man and farmers, BJP has accused the government of conspiring with petrol 'mafia' and said it will not allow the hike and take to the streets instead.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar flayed the Centre for steep hike and restricting the annual supply of LPG cylinders and said that the latter has inflicted a "cruel joke" on the people who are reeling under the price rise and inflation.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who heads Congress-led UDF government, said, "If it is difficult to completely roll back the increase, the Centre should at least reduce the hike."
The government yesterday hiked diesel price by Rs 5.63 per litre and capped supply of subsidised LPG to 6 cylinders per household in a year.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said since international prices of crude oil had risen, the "government has been forced to take such a step".
BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said the restriction on LPG cylinder will have a minimum burden of Rs 750 every month on each family.
"The government it seems has become careless and adopted a 'we don't care' approach towards people," he said, adding that the government's slogan given before the polls of Congress' hand with the common man now seems to have become "Congress' hand is a betrayal with the people".
Mamata said in Kolkata, "We are unhappy and astonished that inspite of the formation of the UPA coordination committee after a long time, such a decision was taken without consulting us."
DMK chief M Karunanidhi said in Chennai the hike would further affect the poor and the salaried class who are already reeling under high prices of essential items. He said his party was not consulted by the Centre on the issue.
Demanding a rollback, the Left said it will discuss with other political parties the issue of launching a "powerful" movement against the hike and also took the opportunity to attack Trinamool Congress for its "hypocrisy and double standards".
CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said both the diesel price hike and LPG restriction will hit the common people and said his party will strongly protest the move.
Charging the Centre with lacking economic ideas to tackle the fuel price hike, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa demanded immediate rollback of diesel price and the ceiling on supply of subsidised cylinders.
In Bhubaneshwar, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed the diesel hike and restriction on LPG cylinders as a "breakdown" of the Centre's economic policies and demanded immediate rollback of the decision.