Though they are fuming at the hike in prices of petroleum products, the Left parties will not withdraw support to the government. Instead, the parties have called for a weeklong general strike starting Thursday to lodge their protest and demand that the government roll back the hike.
Calling the decision “political hara-kiri,” Left leaders have called for an intensified agitation against the government from June 5 to June 11.
In Andhra, the TDP will join the Left’s strike on June 6, while talks are on with the SP to join the countrywide agitation, sources said. In Bengal, the CPM and Trinamool Congress will back-to-back bandhs.
“There will be a general strike in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura,” CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said. “We hope other states will also join in,” he said. Asked whether the Left would contemplate withdrawal of support to the government, Karat said the Left’s immediate task is to “compel the government” to withdraw at least a part of the hike.
“The prices of essential commodities are already rising. At this rate inflation will run into double figures,” a Left leader said. The four Left parties — CPM, CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc — issued a joint statement, minutes after the hike was announced, condemning the hike as an “onslaught on people” and “an unjustified burden.”
“The increase in price of diesel, in particular, will have a cascading effect on all-round prices as transportation costs will rise sharply.
The Rs 50 increase in LPG price will be a crushing burden on ordinary family budgets,” the statement — signed by Karat, CPI’s AB Bardhan, Forward Bloc’s Debabrata Biswas and RSP’s TJ Chandrachoodan — said.