Government will suffer: Bardhan

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Marcus Dam

Left to evaluate its ties with the Government on June 23

Withdrawal of support will not help bring down prices

“Hope Centre takes note of people’s resentment”

KOLKATA: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government would have to suffer because of its decision to increase the prices of petroleum products; withdrawal of support by the Left parties would not help in bringing down the price hike, A.B. Bardhan, general secretary of the Communist Party of India, said here.

Drawing a comparison between the price rise issue and the India-United States nuclear deal, both of which the Left parties are opposed to, he said: “The government will suffer not so much for the nuclear deal than it will for the oil price hike that will have an impact on the elections.”

“Withdrawal of support will not help in bringing down prices. But such a threat [by the Left parties] had worked in stalling the nuclear deal as a minority government cannot get the deal through,” Mr Bardhan said.

The Left parties, however, will evaluate the political situation and their relations with the UPA government on June 23.

Referring to the poll outcome in Karnataka, where Assembly elections were held last month, he said the Congress lost there because of the people’s resentment against its policies leading to the rise in prices of essential commodities. “People never bark or bite; they act. And when they act they do so decisively.”

The CPI leader expressed the hope that the Centre will opt to roll back its decision to hike fuel prices after having watched the popular resentment against it expressed through the successful bandhs observed in the three Left-ruled States.

Mr. Bardhan said he could not agree with the Prime Minister’s description of the rise in the prices as a “modest” one in a country where the inflation rate had touched the 8.1 per cent mark two weeks ago and where 78 per cent of the people subsisted on earnings of less than Rs. 20 a day. “Such a massive increase can only be a tremendous burden and cause misery to the Aam Admi,” he added. The Prime Minister had talked of reducing consumption of oil but why was the government not talking of rationing petrol and diesel? Mr. Bardhan asked. Instead of strengthening the public transport system the government was giving a free run to private transport that included oil guzzling luxury cars, he observed.



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