Hours after the United Progressive Alliance government increased petrol and diesel prices on Monday, the Left parties announced nationwide demonstrations against the hike, which are likely to be held on June 28.
The 'protest actions' will tentatively be held on June 28 in coordination with trade unions and other mass organisations, CPI National Secretary D Raja said in New Delhi.
"The Left parties do not agree with the government on increasing the prices of petrol and diesel. It will have a cascading effect and heap a huge burden on the common man and adversely affect the economy, which is already witnessing an upward trend in inflation and general price rise," he said.
But Raja appeared satisfied with the government's decision not to increase prices of kerosene and LPG, which he said was due to "the reasonable arguments advanced by the Left."
"But we are opposed to the hiking of petrol and diesel prices as this will impact the prices of essential commodities."
Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said: "Our opposition to any hike in the prices of petroleum products was very well known. All the four Left parties will now sit together and announce the date of our agitation programme."
The Union Cabinet on Monday agreed to raise petrol and diesel prices by Rs.2.50 and Rs 2 per litre, respectively, even as international crude prices reached a record high of $59.18 a barrel.
Castigating the government for increasing petrol and diesel prices, RSP leader Abani Roy said the hike in diesel prices in particular would affect the prices of essential commodities -- from vegetables to foodgrains and edible oil.
"Even the bus fares may go up. We will protest against this and take to the streets. This government is not doing anything for the common man," Roy said, adding that "we do not favour the government decision which came after we had given them several alternative suggestions to raise resources."
Roy said the government was going ahead with its own decisions and "thrusting them on us. They make announcements and then discuss them with us, be it on the matter of petrol prices or BHEL (divestment)."