Mamata Joins Opposition in Slamming Fuel Price Hike

New Delhi
Mamata Joins Opposition in Slamming Fuel Price Hike
The hike in fuel prices has stirred a hornet's nest with key UPA ally Trinamool Congress joining the opposition parties in slamming the Centre and demanding its roll back.

The CPI-M will be hitting the streets tomorrow to protest against the decision, which it said was "unprecedented".

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who faces Assembly polls in the CPI-M ruled West Bengal next year, said she does not support the hike because kerosene, LPG and diesel are directly linked with the common people's kitchen.

Seeking a rollback, the Railway Minister said, "I will request the government to re-consider the decision to hike the diesel, LPG and kerosene prices because it will result in increase in prices of other commodities."

While Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said that none of the members present at the EGoM gave a dissenting note, sources said that DMK leader M K Alagiri, whose party voiced opposition to the move after the decision, had brought a paper outlining his party's reservations on the move but did not circulate it.

"I know Banerjee is in town but I don't know why she did not attend the meeting," Deora said. "All others were very cooperative. (DMK leader and Fertiliser Minister) M K Alagiri and (Agriculture Minister) Sharad Pawar were in agreement with these decisions."

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said his party condemns UPA's efforts to burden the common man with yet another dose of petrol and diesel price hike.

"Instead of providing relief to the common man, the government is bent upon taking the petroleum prices to new heights which clearly is an anti-people policy," Javadekar said adding this hike would have a cascading effect on prices of essential commodities.

"BJP demands that consumer should not be asked to pay more either for subsidising the inefficiencies of the oil PSUs or jacking up profits of the private oil companies. We demand withdrawal of taxation hike and the proposed hike," he said.

The party has also planned to submit a memorandum of 100 million signatures to the President of India against price rise during the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

NDA ally JD-U also attacked the Centre saying the UPA government had come to power on the promise of being supportive to 'aam aadmi' but it "betrayed them and made their life unbearable by steep price rise of all essential commodities...."

"Even the poorest among the poor, who is using kerosene, has not been spared. Price rise in petrol and diesel will automatically result in shooting up the prices of vegetable, pulses, sugar and edible oils," party President Sharad Yadav said.

Terming the hike in petro product prices as "a cruel blow" against people, four Left parties demanded its scrapping and lambasted the government for giving "false arguments" to justify these measures.

"The decision of the UPA government to inflict a steep rise in the prices .....Is a cruel blow against the people who are already suffering due to the runaway increase in the prices of food and essential commodities," the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said in a joint statement here.

Another UPA ally NCP said it would seek reconsideration in the hike in LPG prices to help the common man.

Party general secretary Govindrao Adik said that his party was neither opposing nor expressing displeasure over the move as it was a part of the government but it would like reconsideration of the LPG price hike.

Senior RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta said the fuel price hike is "unfortunate" and against the interests of people.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also slammed the decision.

Talking to the media in Jaipur, he said, "Price rise is the synonym of Congressism. Congress is hand-in-gloves with big business houses. This party contests election on the support of these business houses, form the government, and then raise prices of essential commodities to benefit them".

"SP has given support to the UPA government on certain issues, and it always protested price rise of petro products inside and outside Parliament," he said, adding, "SP always favoured non-Congress government in the state and at the Centre...Let all political parties unite on a common agenda to form a third front".

His arch-rival and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati too said the Centre has taken the step to benefit oil companies and claimed that "it is working in the interest of capitalists and industrialists only."

Mayawati said the UPA government, which floated the popular slogan of 'Congress Ka Haath Gharibon Ke Saath' (the hand of Congress is with the common man), had failed to control inflation since 2004.

Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said the Centre did not reduce the prices of fuel when the oil prices came down in the international market.

Naidu also said UPA allies such as DMK should urge the Centre to roll back the prices. "DMK is an experienced political party. If they are concerned about the common man, they should urge the Centre to roll back the prices," he said.

In Bhubaneswar, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the Centre's decision "would cause a lot of hardship for the people". Ruling BJD called for a state-wide agitation tomorrow against the move to hike prices of petroleum products.

Terming the hike as "unreasonable and unfair", Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said it would further push up inflation and demanded that the Centre reconsider its decision.

Former Petroleum Minister Ram Naik accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of failing to formulate a pricing policy for petroleum products.

In a statement issued in Mumbai, Naik alleged that the UPA government is on "war" against the people. "Only solution is to unite and fight against the government," he said.

AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa said the Centre should immediately roll back the prices or otherwise the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu should withdraw support to the UPA Government.

PMK founder Ramadoss also flayed the fuel price hike.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal criticised the Centre over the "unwarranted" and steep hike and demanded its immediate withdrawal.

In Jaipur, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said the government has again put "inflation burden on the common man and farmers who were already bearing the brunt of a famine-like situation in the state."
Next Story : Fuel Price Hike to Add 1% to Inflation: Economists
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