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Left to hold countrywide protests on diesel price hike

September 14, 2012 17:36 IST

Left parties on Friday opposed the hike in diesel price with the Communist Party of India-Marxist terming it a "gigantic fraud" and decided to hold protests across the country while targeting thr Trinamool Congress for its "double standard" on the issue.

CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat said in Kolkata that the Left will hold talks with other parties on organising a "common movement" against the decision that will hit common man "badly" while his party will hold protests in the states.

A CPI-M polit bureau statement termed the government move a "gigantic fraud" and said the hike will have a cascading inflationary impact imposing greater burdens on the already suffering people. It also rejected as a "patent falsehood" the government reasoning that such hikes were inevitable because of the burgeoning losses of oil companies, claiming that the account books of ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum were showing profits in hundreds of crores.

CPI termed the decisions as "retrogade and anti-people" with its national secretary D Raja claiming the decision will further increase hardship of the common people. "The government should not go ahead," he said.

Forward Bloc said in a statement it will organise protests and sought the support of like-minded parties to organise joint mass action against the "unjustifiable act" of the government. It alleged the "inflated accounts of under recoveries" of oil companies were an attempt to fool people.

Targeting the Trinamool Congress, CPI-M polit bureau member Brinda Karat told PTI that the party was using the absence of its minister Mukul Roy in the Cabinet committee on political affairs meeting, which took the decision, as a "tool of convenience" to avoid criticism.

"It is hypocrisy and double standard. They are running with the hare and hunting with the hounds," she said. Brinda said Trinamool is part of the government and is equally responsible. "They have to explain why Roy was absent from the meeting of the CCPA. They are using it as a tool of convenience," she said.

Asked about media reports that the opposition of allies like the Trinamool and the Samajwadi Party to the hike will be restricted to manageable level, she said one cannot compare both the parties as the Trinamool is part of the government while the other is not. On whether state governments could cushion the hike by cutting tax, she said the main culprit is the central government and it is their responsibility. "The focus should be at the Centre," she said.

Attacking the government, she said it loses crores of rupees due to corruption but when it comes to giving relief to the people, it thinks about the exchequer.

The CPI-M polit bureau said the agricultural sector and farmers will particularly suffer due to the decision of hiking diesel prices while limiting of cooking gas cylinders will adversely impact the livelihood condition of crores of families across the country.

In the statement, the party spoke about the accounts of oil majors to claim that they were making profits. "The ONGC declared a net profit of Rs 25,123 crore for the year 2011-12. For the next quarter ending June 30, 2012, it has reported a further growth in profit of 48.4 per cent. The IOC has reported a net profit of Rs 4,265.27 crore for 2011-12."

"The Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) reported a net profit of Rs 911 crores. Interestingly, for the last quarter of the fiscal, January-March 2012, its net profit increased by 312 per cent. The Bharat Petroleum has reported a net profit of Rs. 1,546.68 crore," it said.

CPI-Marxist-Leninist also condemned the government decision and called for protests to demand rollback.

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