The hike in petrol price is totally unjustified and unwarranted, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Brinda Karat said here on Thursday.

The United Progressive Alliance government is burdening people with its faulty economic policies. The fuel price hike and the weakening of the rupee are entirely the government's creation, she told reporters after leading the party's protest to condemn price rise.

If the government was concerned about people, it should roll back the hike. The government should also reduce or remove the tax on petrol as this constituted more than 50 per cent of the cost.

Blaming the UPA constituents for the hike, she said that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Trinamool Congress were as much responsible for it as the Congress.

The parties had endorsed the move to deregulate the price of petrol. But, in their respective States they feigned ignorance saying they did not know that prices would be increased.

Ms. Karat condemned the timing of the hike. Without the courage to face Parliament, the Congress-led UPA had asked the oil marketing companies to announce the hike a day after the both the Houses were adjourned sine die. The move was undemocratic.

The hike had come when the UPA was celebrating the completion of three years in office. “The UPA is celebrating and people are mourning the disastrous rule.” The CPI (M) would hold a nation-wide protest on May 31 against the price hike.

On the Presidential election, the CPI(M) leader said that her party was considering Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's choice, P.A. Sangma. Ms. Jayalalithaa had spoken to the CPI (M) general secretary in this regard and the party was yet to take a decision. She also said that the CPI (M) expected the ruling party to come up with a name that had wider acceptance and helped build a consensus.

Earlier at a press conference, party's State Secretary G. Ramakrishnan said that the Centre must review its decision to decontrol petrol price. “When the government does not let farmers decide the price of paddy or sugarcane, why should it let the oil marketing companies decide the price of petrol, which affects the lower and middle class” he asked, demanding a rollback of the hike.

He said that the people would see through the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader M. Karunanidhi's statement demanding the withdrawal of the increase in petrol price. This was because the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government took the decision to decontrol prices at the Empowered Group of Ministers' meeting.