The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is “absolutely opposed to the decontrolling of prices,” as proposed by the Parikh Committee, and hopes that the Centre will also have the “common sense” to refute the recommendations, party Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said here on Thursday.

“It is very strange that as far as aviation fuel is concerned, the Centre is ready to cut the price and taxes, but it is not prepared to do the same for diesel and petrol,” Ms. Karat said.

“We have seen what dependence of the market has done to the budgets of the common man and therefore the proposal made by this committee is something my party opposes 100 per cent and we hope the government will also have the sense to oppose it,” she added.

The present situation of prices of essential commodities increasing to such an extent that it is becoming impossible for the poor to live is “precisely because of the free play of the market.”

Going by the experience of the last two years and the number of times the UPA government has raised the prices of fuel, it has had a huge inflationary impact and a cascading effect on the price of other essential commodities, apart from being a tremendous burden on farmers who use diesel, Ms. Karat said.

She was speaking to journalists at the State headquarters of the CPI(M) on the first day of the three-day meeting of the party’s Central Committee.

Ms. Karat said “major political developments at the national level, and in particular the situation in West Bengal in the light of the Maoist and Trinamool attacks [on party workers and leaders],” were being discussed at the meeting.

During the day, Biman Bose, Secretary of the West Bengal State Committee of the CPI(M) told journalists that 167 party workers had been killed in the State since the announcement of the results of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Of these, 71 were from the Maoist-affected district of Paschim Medinipur alone.

When asked whether the CPI(M) party congress to be held in 2011 will be deferred in view of the fact that Assembly elections are due in West Bengal and Kerala next year, party Polit Bureau member M.K. Pandhe said it was “not yet decided” and “the decision will be made known in time.”

“The Congress is due next year beginning… we will discuss it [the date] and take a decision,” Mr. Pandhe added.