Over 800 delegates from across the country, participating in the ninth all-India conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), protested outside Town Hall on Friday afternoon against the Union government’s decision to hike diesel price and impose a cap on the number of domestic LPG cylinders provided at a subsidised rate.

In Bangalore, diesel price went up by over Rs. 6.1, and now costs Rs. 51.24 a litre.

Terming this as an “anti-people, anti-poor” agenda of UPA-II, the DYFI leadership demanded an immediate rollback. The former Kerala Education Minister M.A. Baby said this would have a cascading effect on prices, and burden the people more. Ever since the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government came to power for the second time, fuel prices have been hiked no less than 14 times, he said.

Pincer moves

“On the one hand the government is adopting policies leading to loot of natural resources, while on the other it is allowing rampant price rise,” Mr. Baby said.

DYFI president and Member of Parliament P. Sreeramakrishnan said, “The premise that [the price rise] is because of oil company losses is a baseless lie.”

Protesters said the cap on LPG subsidy was cruel as it would affect every home in the country. “When the demand for food security is intensifying, what is the rationale of denying people cooking gas? Instead of looking at universalising PDS, the government is looking at cutting all support for the poor,” said DYFI Karnataka secretary Rajashekar Murthy. Meanwhile, the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) has expressed concern over the issue. In a press release, FKCCI president K. Shiva Shanmugam said although the diesel price hike was to address the issue of fiscal consolidation, it would not benefit the public. Instead, it would increase the prices of essential commodities. The decision on LPG cylinders was also not welcome, he said. The Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners Association has sought an immediate rollback of the diesel price hike, a press release said.