The sharp hike in diesel price has evoked a sharp reaction in Kerala with LDF and BJP.

The sharp hike in diesel price has evoked a sharp reaction in Kerala with the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) issuing separate calls for dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday to protest against it and top leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) demanding an immediate rollback of the price hike.

The State witnessed almost spontaneous protest demonstrations and road blocks in several district immediately after the price hike became known.

Opposition workers staged demonstrations and blocked roads in Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Palakkad, Kozhikode, and Wayanad.

Coming down heavily on the price hike, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said that this was the sharpest increase in diesel price in history. Prices of essential commodities would shoot up as a result of the decision and Kerala would be the worst-hit by it.

The simultaneous decision to restrict LPG subsidy to six cylinders a year would make life miserable for the people, he said. KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala shot off a fax message to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking urgent review of the decision.

Finance Minister K.M. Mani was also quick to demand an immediate rollback of the price rise.