Sharad Yadav proposes joint protest
The reforms in the fuel sector and the subsequent rise in prices have come in handy for the Opposition parties to make common cause in cornering the United Progressive Alliance government as a build-up to a showdown during the coming monsoon session of Parliament.
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, who is also the working convenor of the National Democratic Alliance, has mooted the move to exhibit the same kind of unity as when the UPA government hiked the duty on petrol and diesel in its Budget proposal. This time, Mr. Yadav wants the unity to be displayed outside Parliament, a move that fizzled out last time around in April.
The idea is for all the Opposition parties to enforce a Bharat Bandh on the same day to protest the “anti-people” hike in prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG, besides petrol.
All the parties agreeing to the idea are expected to issue their separate calls for the bandh, as bringing them together on the same platform did not appear feasible.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) have already issued the call for a bandh in Bihar on July 10.
Apart from speaking to Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari, Mr. Yadav also consulted Left leaders.
The Samajwadi Party (SP), Telugu Desam Party and Indian National Lok Dal were also said to be receptive to the idea.
Sources said Mr. Yadav is hoping Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat will play a crucial role in the exercise. He is also expecting SP head Mulayam Singh to rope in RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan.
Mr. Yadav also aims to rope in the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal.
CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan told The Hindu that Mr. Yadav called him over phone to find out their agitation plan.
Mr. Bardhan said the Left parties will be sitting together next week to take a view on the issue.
The Left parties are holding a national convention on food security on July 1 organised by CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat. The leaders are expected to separately discuss the issue of the fuel price hike and chalk out the course of action.