Leaders of the TDP, the CPI and the CPI (M) have appealed to all sections of people to actively participate in the hartal and bandh to be observed on Monday in protest against the Central government's refusal to roll back the hike in prices of petroleum products.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, TDP district president Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, CPI (M) district secretary V. Umamaheswara Rao, floor leader in VMC general body Ch. Babu Rao, CPI district secretary Suryadevara Nageswara Rao and others said that the poor and middle-class people were unable to bear the burden of price rise in the wake of hike in prices of petroleum products.

They said the prices of petrol and diesel were having a direct impact on the prices of essential commodities and the Government was not being sensitive to the problems of the people. The Opposition leaders said the trade and industry and all sections of society were ready to cooperate with them in making the hartal a success.

They had already met and interacted with the hoteliers, traders and shop owners of Vastralatha and other commercial complexes to seek their cooperation in observing the bandh against the price hike.

Mr. Devineni Umamaheswara Rao said it was highly objectionable that Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora claimed in a light-hearted manner that in India a mineral water bottle was cheaper than a litre of kerosene.

Mr. V. Umamaheswara Rao and Mr. Suryadevara Nageswara Rao took objection to Civil Supplies Minister Jupalli Krishna Rao's comment that the prices were hiked as the purchasing power of people had gone up considerably.

They asserted that it was the purchasing power of the ruling party leaders and their followers that had increased, but not of the people.

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