Oppn meet today to discuss cut motion against fuel hike | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Oppn meet today to discuss cut motion against fuel hike

Tough times appear ahead for the government with about a dozen non-NDA, non-UPA parties meeting in New Delhi today to finalise strategy for a cut motion against the finance bill to force rollback of the hike in prices of petroleum products. See Special

delhi Updated: Apr 12, 2010 11:18 IST

Tough times appear ahead for the government with about a dozen non-NDA, non-UPA parties meeting in New Delhi today to finalise strategy for a cut motion against the finance bill to force rollback of the hike in prices of petroleum products.

The parties could also consider launching a nationwide action to protest government's "failure" to prevent rise in prices of essential commodities, probably a 'Bharat Bandh' (nationwide general strike) in the last week of April.

A cut motion puts to test the strength of the government in the Lok Sabha. If the motion is adopted, it amounts to defeat of the government on a money matter and it has to resign.

The second phase of the budget session is beginning on April 15 in the shadow of the Dantewada massacre bringing unprecedented concern over the Maoist menace that saw Home Minister P Chidambaram offering to resign.

This meeting is significant as it is for the first time that these parties are making a common cause on the issue of price rise since the Congress-led UPA came to power for the second time in May last year.

Left parties, which are spearheading the move, are working towards a strategy so that the entire Opposition, including the BJP, could vote on a single cut motion in the Lok Sabha.

"Though every party is planning to move cut motions on the Finance Bill, we want to ensure that all the MPs (of Opposition) together vote on a single cut motion - the one on rolling back the customs and excise duties on petrol and diesel," CPI General Secretary AB Bardhan said.

It will be the first time that Samajwadi Party, which had deserted the Left on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal, will be back in the fold.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will attend the April 12 meeting along with Prakash Karat of CPM, A B Bardhan of CPI, Lalu Prasad of RJD and leaders of AIADMK, Telugu Desam Party, Biju Janata Dal, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Indian National Lok Dal, JD(S), Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party.

While these parties have expressed their willingness to attend the meet, the BSP is yet to respond to the invitation, CPI leader D Raja said.

The parties want the government to roll back the increase in customs duty on crude oil and the excise tax on petroleum products.

The Left leaders, including Prakash Karat, have said the idea of convening the meet was not to topple the government.

"Now, the government has to decide. Our effort is not with any intention to destabilise the government, but to exert maximum pressure on it so that it acts very decisively (to bring down prices). No longer can the government turn a deaf ear to our demands," Bardhan said.

While the Left parties are in talks with "secular opposition parties" on a joint strategy during voting, they are not averse to BJP and its allies supporting a joint opposition cut motion. The parties are also angry over the hike in urea prices.

The SP is, however, not enthusiastic about any support from the BJP. Party spokesman Mohan Singh said the main opposition has become "B-team of the Congress" with the leader of Opposition turning into leader of a friendly party of the government.

Within the ruling UPA, parties like NCP and Trinamool Congress are opposed to the decision of increase in duties on crude and petro products.

"Let us see what their stand is (when the cut motion is taken up)", Bardhan said adding that the issue of Bharat Bandh could come up at the meeting.