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UPA unable to check prices: Vajpayee

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NOTE OF DISSENT: Senior BJP leaders Atal Behari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Manohar Joshi leading a demonstration against the hike in petrol and diesel prices on Monday. Comparative figures for prices during the NDA regime and the present UPA rule are on display in the backdrop. Photo: S. Subramanium (Report on Page 10)
NOTE OF DISSENT: Senior BJP leaders Atal Behari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Manohar Joshi leading a demonstration against the hike in petrol and diesel prices on Monday. Comparative figures for prices during the NDA regime and the present UPA rule are on display in the backdrop. Photo: S. Subramanium (Report on Page 10)

Staff Reporter

NDA calls for nationwide protest

Left parties playing a fraud on the common man: Advani60 Members of Parliament court arrestNDA calls nationwide protest on June 19

NEW DELHI: Accusing the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government of not being able to stem the fuel price rise, the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, on Monday called upon the people to put pressure on it to change its policy. Later, he courted arrest along with several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders.

The NDA called for a nationwide protest on June 19 against the Central Government's policies.

"A joke"

Addressing NDA supporters at a rally at the Jantar Mantar here, Mr. Vajpayee ridiculed the Centre's decision to ask the State Governments to share the burden after increasing the fuel prices. "This will become a joke. The Centre will have to bring the prices down by cutting excise and customs duties, and not by asking the States to cut their sales tax."

Such a proposal was acceptable if the States willingly agreed to cut the sales tax. "But it will not be fair to pressurise State Governments into doing so."

Prices rose even during his tenure "but in the past two years, the fuel prices have been increased seven times." Mr. Vajpayee read out a comparative list of prices of rice and pulses to drive home the point.

The former Deputy Prime Minister, Lal Krishna Advani, said the UPA Government had betrayed the common man even though it came to power by claiming to be their champions. "It is not the first time. Right since the 1970s, they have come up with one slogan or the other claiming to work for the poor but have always betrayed them."

Mr. Advani also accused the Left parties of "conniving" with the Government and playing a fraud on the common man. "The Left parties are helping the Government in its anti-people decisions, and they are playing out a drama of protesting on the streets."

Wheat imports

Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said the country was exporting foodgrains during the NDA regime, but the present Government was importing wheat.

Others who addressed the gathering were BJP president Rajnath Singh and Shiv Sena leaders Manohar Joshi and Anant Geete. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh and several Delhi MLAs also participated in the protest.

In the afternoon, more than 60 Members of Parliament from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha courted arrest.


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