Close on the heels of the June 26 hartal against the hike in fuel prices, Kerala is now heading for another State-wide strike on the same issue on July 5.

Replying to a calling attention in the Assembly on Tuesday on the difficulties faced by people consequent to the latest price hike, State Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac said the people of Kerala should join the nation-wide strike called by Left and non-BJP opposition parties.

On June 26, normal life was hit in Kerala following a ruling LDF-sponsored hartal to protest the fuel price hike.

Mr. Issac said recent price hike of petroleum products would lead to generalised inflation in the country.

Stating that there was no justification for the recent hike, he alleged that the decision of the UPA Government was to help private oil companies. Disputing the argument that price hike was to support public sector oil companies, Mr. Issac said the entry of private companies into the sector would be a “death knell” to public sector oil companies.

Inflation, which centred around foodgrains till now, would become a generalised one following the hike in oil price considered a universal intermediary product, he added.