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Price rise: Left for PM, Sonia intervention

June 27, 2006 17:12 IST

Left parties on Tuesday sought 'effective intervention' of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to bridle growing inflation and roll back 'arbitrary selling of national assets.'

The CPI, CPI-M and Forward Bloc impressed upon the government that it was fast losing confidence of the people on these two disturbing trends, adding if the government did not 'mend' its ways, it would have to pay a heavy political cost in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Uttaranchal next year.

At a formal joint meeting of the Left parties to be held in New Delhi on July 3, the Left leaders would 'finalise' the contents of the joint letter to Singh and Gandhi, expressing their anguish.

Talking to UNI, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said, ''The Left is very much perturbed by the spiralling prices of essential commodities and the government's decision on disinvestment. The government has admitted that inflation rate of the whole price index has crossed the boundary line of five per cent, which means that the Consumers Price Index is in the vicinity of double digit.''

CPI-M stalwart and Politbureau member Sitaram Yechury asked the government to put 'an immediate leash on forward trading and speculation in commodity market right now.' The Left leaders maintained that the government measures so far had been 'lukewarm and half-hearted. People are getting restless and the Left can not ignore it,' Bardhan and Yechury added.

CPI-M veteran and another Politbureau member M K Pandhe said the Congress was not listening to reason. ''One by one it is violating the spirit of the CMP. Besides its own house is divided. A section of the Congress is strongly against the government's decision on disinvesting the profit making PSUs.''

CPI National Secretary Shamim Faizi said the government's decision to disinvest BALCO, National Mining Development Corporation and the recent cabinet decision to sell off 10 per cent government equity in Neyveli and NALCO had come as a 'big shock'.

Mr Faizi said this had happened despite the fact that the Left had already submitted a detailed nine-page note on the government's two year performance.

''We want to take the spiralling price rise and the disinvestment of PSUs as a test case for the government.''

Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said the government had so far not taken 'any concrete decision' to contain high inflation.

Besides it had chosen imports of sugar, wheat and pulses to check the trend.

''It is an absolutely wrong approach. It will simply accentuate the prise in prices of essential prices, which have already gone beyond the reach of the man on the street and the middle classes. The approach will give rise to hoarding, artificial scarcity of food items and manipulation of prices in the market,'' he added.

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