The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has slammed the increase in fuel prices announced by the United Progressive Government on Friday and demanded immediate rollback.

A protest was organised by the party in front of the Office of Assistant Commissioner of Labour here on Saturday. Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member and Rajya Sabha MP, participated in the demonstration and addressed the gathering.

Mr. Yechury said that the announcement was an unprecedented attack on the livelihood of the vast mass of people who were already reeling under the influence of inflation for more than two years.

The announcement had a coincidence as “it was on the same day 30 years ago the Congress government under Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency. It was the worst form of political authoritarianism and this fuel price hike is economic authoritarianism.”

The Congress was later defeated by people's force and democracy was reinstated. “Now the CPI (M) will fight it out and make them roll back the fuel prices,” he said.

The reason cited by the UPA government (for the revision) that oil companies were facing losses was unjustified as there was no change in oil prices during the last three months, he said.

Secondly, the losses, if any, were notional and if the tax structure was rationalised there would be no losses.

He also urged the government to withdraw the taxes (on petroleum products) and import petroleum.

The justification that money was required to support social welfare schemes was illogical.

“Why can't the government use the Rs.1 lakh crore collected from the sale of spectrum for 3G and broadband wireless access to support the schemes?” asked Mr. Yechury.

“IPL India and BPL India”

He said the economic policies of the UPA government were creating an economic divide in the nation. It was creating an “IPL India” for the rich and “BPL India” for the poor. Lakhs and crores of money were being made in the name of Indian Premier League. “Why not tax them heavily and support the welfare schemes,” he wondered.

Madurai East MLA N. Nanmaran and Madurai urban district unit secretary R. Annadurai participated in the protest.

Keywords: fuel price hike