There was no justification whatsoever in the recent petrol price hike, D. Raja, national secretary, Communist Party of India, said at a press conference here on Sunday.
The Union government was not transparent about the pricing mechanism — it had thus far kept people in the dark regarding the money oil marketing companies (OMCs) spent on refining crude, their profits, sales tax, etc. It was not willing to share the information even when sought, he said.
On top of it, the government was now trying to deflect the hike-related criticism by saying it was for the OMCs to increase or decrease the prices in accordance with the market fluctuations. This was not the way a responsible government should behave, he said.
“If it is for the market and companies to decide the prices, what are the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister there for?”
“The government is not ready to take responsibility, listen to the people and be sensitive to their needs. It is time it did so — reconsider its economic policy, do a mid-term review and carry out course correction. If it doesn't change its policies, the people will change the government.”
Jail bharo protest
In protest of the petrol price hike and spiralling inflation, all trade unions had called for a ‘jail bharo' agitation on November 8. The CPI fully supports the protest, he said.
The petrol price hike, the resultant effect on prices of essential commodities and the two-digit inflation would figure prominently in the debates in the winter session of Parliament. The CPI, he said, was talking to other Left parties, regional and Central parties to forge a consensus on a number of issues to take on the government.
On the 2G scam, he said the CPI had already stated its stand that the present Home Minister and the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram should be questioned as the decision to auction the spectrum on a first come, first served basis was taken in concurrence with the Finance Ministry.
On Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani's ‘Jan Chetna Yatra' would not have any impact on the people as there was basically no difference between the Congress and the BJP on a majority of issues, he added.