The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India on Friday called for a united protest against the petrol price hike, terming the move as one that displayed the government's “shocking callousness'' to people's plight.

In its statement, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said on the day when the price hike was announced, the food inflation touched 12.21 per cent. It held the government's deregulation of petrol prices responsible for the fuelling of the prices of essential commodities and inflation.

“The hoax of the pricing according to the market has been exposed as international oil prices have fallen considerably in the recent period,” it said. The Polit Bureau called upon all units of the party to protest against this “intolerable burden'' imposed on people. United protests, including mass picketing, should be launched.

Terming the increase “unjustified,” the Communist Party of India said the oil companies' claim of losing money on account of exchange rate fluctuation was a temporary phenomenon.

Charging the UPA government with having struck a blow on people, the party's Central Secretariat said this came at a time when they were reeling under the burden of unprecedented rice in the prices of essential commodities.

The CPI too called upon its party units to protest against the hike in petrol prices and intensify the struggle against price rise in general.

CPI Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta said the decision would inflame the already high inflation. While the Reserve Bank of India was taking steps to control it, the government was moving in the other direction.

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