Left Front stages protest march despite bad weather
Even as Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan described the Centre's decision to hike the prices of LPG, diesel and kerosene as “a vicious attack on the common man by an anti-people government,” West Bengal Left Front constituents braved inclement weather to take out a protest march here on Saturday.
The procession, which was part of a series of agitations the Left parties have planned, was attended by the former Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee; Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra and Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Bose.
Addressing a press conference earlier, Mr. Bardhan derided the hike, calling it the United Progressive Alliance-II government's “first gift” to the people following the electoral triumphs in West Bengal and Kerala.
He said the hike would trigger an upward spiral in the prices of essential commodities and transportation cost.
“The Centre chose this time to announce the hike since the Parliament session is still more than a month away and there are no elections around. It has completely failed in controlling fuel prices and is clueless on how to bring them down,” Mr. Bardhan said.
Alleging that the UPA government had repeatedly ignored the Left's suggestions that the rising fuel prices be tackled in the international market, Mr. Bardhan said that they could still be brought down if it reduced customs and excise duty on imported crude.
He said the government was following in the footsteps of the National Democratic Alliance, under whose rule such a huge leap in LPG prices was seen earlier.
Mr. Bardhan was also critical of West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's reaction to the decision.
“By issuing a statement against the Centre's decision, Ms. Banerjee cannot evade her responsibility [for] the hike in fuel prices since her party is an important ally of the UPA government.”
‘Serving khaas aadmi’
Speaking to the gathering at the procession, Mr. Bose alleged that though the UPA government called itself the aam aadmi's (common man's) government, it was actually serving the interests of the khaas aadmi (rich and influential).