‘Fuel price hike pushed the common man towards ruination'

The Left parties will stage protests against fuel price hike during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Kanpur on Saturday.

While All-India Forward Bloc members will release black balloons from their homes when the Prime Minister reaches the industrial metropolis in the afternoon, the Kanpur units of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India have been authorised to have their own forms of protest.

This was stated by the U.P. unit leaders of the CPI (M), the CPI, the AIFB, the Republican Socialist Party (RSP) and the Janata Dal (Secular) at a press conference here on Friday.

Accusing Dr. Singh of pushing the common man, farmers and labourers further towards ruination by increasing the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG, the leaders said the July 5 Bharat bandh and general strike would take the form of a people's struggle.

State CPI(M) secretary S.P. Kashyap said the Prime Minister's announcement that diesel would be decontrolled was a pointer to what lay in store for the common man.

CPI secretary Girish said that under Left pressure UPA-I could not announce fuel price hike and even if there was an increase, it was just marginal. Now, in the absence of Left pressure and as UPA-II allies were a pro-capitalist class, the country witnessed an unprecedented rise in fuel prices, Mr. Girish said.

The CPI leader urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to reduce the value added tax on petrol and diesel.

AIFB secretary Ram Kishore said people who were reeling under the impact of the price hike should join the July 5 strike.

Dr. Singh is scheduled to attend a convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology and address the Uttar Pradesh Chamber of Merchant and Commerce