Friday, November 4, 2011

Oppn attacks UPA on petrol price rise

The opposition lashed out at the UPA govt for raising petrol prices with BJP attributing it to the Govt's mismanagement and the Left parties asking all their state units to launch nationwide protests.

Chief Ministers of two non-Congress ruled states ridiculed the Congress-led UPA government's 'Aam Aadmi' slogan and said the petrol price rise has exposed the anti-poor face of the Congress party which claims to be the votary of common man.
"Their's is a mismanagement of a different kind. International crude prices are not going up in the manner in which our (fuel) prices here are going up," BJP leader L K Advani told reporters in Pune on Friday.
Noting that petrol price rise was a major factor responsible for fuelling prices of essential commodities, the Left parties asked all their state units to launch nationwide protests.
"The hoax of the pricing according to the market has been exposed as international oil prices have fallen considerably in the recent period," CPI(M) Politburo said in a statement on Friday, adding the Congress-led coalition has once again displayed its shocking callousness at the plight of the people.
The CPI Secretariat also condemned the petrol price hike, terming it as "unjustified" and said the prices of essential commodities were already high.
Strongly opposing the hike, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan said, "It is yet another live example of anti-people policy pursued by the UPA government."
CPI leader D Raja said the hike was a big blow to "aam aadmi" at a time when food inflation had reached double digit.
The Left parties as well as CPI(M)-affiliate CITU called upon their units to go for protest actions on the issue on Saturday to demand roll back, reverting the decision to de-control fuel prices and banning forward trading in all essential commodities.
Trinamool threatens walkout of UPA; to discuss with PM
UPA govt’s largest ally Trinamool Congress has threatened to pull out over the petrol price hike, as it sought an appointment with PM Manmohan Singh before taking any vital decision.
"Our withdrawal of support may result in fall of the government. But since the Prime Minister is away, we want to discuss with him and have sought an appointment with him," Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat in Kolkata on Friday.
"Discussions are required before a vital decision is to be taken," she said after her party's parliamentary wing submitted a resolution to her calling for pull out from the UPA.
Banerjee, in the first-ever attack on the Congress since the formation of the UPA-II government in 2009, said her party would seek an appointment with the Prime Minister sometime between 8th and 10th November according to his convenience after he returns from abroad.
It was unacceptable that such a crucial decision on petrol price hike had been taken in the absence of the Prime Minister, she said.
Banerjee said an emergency meeting of the Trinamool Congress parliamentary party was in favour of quitting the UPA for the unilateral decisions of major ally Congress, without consulting allies and keeping them in the dark, she said.
Pointing out that Congress was dependant on support of allies like the Trinamool Congress, NCP and DMK to run the UPA government, she said, "But we are not dependant on Congress."
"They (Congress) may be a big party, and we may be smaller parties. But they do not have the majority of their own at the Centre. They are dependant on the support of the allies for survival," Banerjee said.
While maintaining that she was not trying to blackmail the government, the Trinamool chief said the rise in fuel prices so frequently was "unacceptable".
“We want the government to run for five years. We follow the coalition dharma. This was our commitment when the government was formed. We are not trying to blackmail the government.”
"In West Bengal, we are in power with two-thirds majority and we are not dependant on Congress to run the government. We can run the government in this state on our own even if Congress is not with us, but we take the partner in confidence in the policy decisions of the government," she said.
"I want to appeal to the Centre to please take care of the people. Eleven times price rise of petrol and petroleum products in 12 months is unacceptable. Price hike may not affect the Central government, but it affects us in the states...We have a commitment to the people and we will never compromise on the question of imposing economic hardship on the masses," she asserted.
Banerjee, who till recently was the railway minister before being elected to state Assembly, said, "I am grateful to my parliamentary party that they have taken this bold decision (to quit UPA)."
She said she held discussions with Union Commerce minister Anand Sharma during the day.
"I have spoken to Union minister Jairam Ramesh following the latest hike in petrol price. My party colleague Mukul Roy last night also contacted Union Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee who pleaded helplessness in the matter."
Banerjee said she had informed the Union Commerce Minister that any vital decision in absence of the Prime Minister should not have been taken by the Centre.
The chief minister, who had earlier sought a special economic package to bail out the fund-starved state, hit out at the Centre for stopping coal supply to power plants on the ground of non-payment of dues.
Anand Sharma to convey Mamata's concern to PM, Sonia
Responding to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's concern over frequent petrol price hikes, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said he would convey this to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
"Mamataji has expressed her concern frankly. We are partners in a coalition government at the Centre. So I must convey her concern to the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi," Sharma told reporters at the state secretariat after meeting Banerjee and interacting with a group of industrialists in Kolkata on Friday.
"However, we have to think of the greater interest for the country," Sharma observed.
Following the latest hike in petrol price UPA's largest ally Trinamool Congress has threatened to pull out of the coalition.

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