Left and non-BJP opposition parties today gave a call for a 12-hour nation-wide strike on July five to protest the government's decision to increase the prices of petroleum products.
Besides the four Left parties, the AIADMK, TDP, Samajwadi Party, BJD, JD(S) and INLD "have decided to call for a country-wide hartal on July five", a joint statement by top leaders of CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said in New Delhi.
"On top of the food inflation at nearly 17 per cent and the general inflation rate in double digit, the Congress-led government has callously raised the fuel prices making the burden on the people unbearable," the statement signed by Prakash Karat (CPI-M), A B Bardhan (CPI), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and T J Chandrachoodan (RSP) said.
They said the Congress-led government has "delivered another cruel blow" to the people by increasing the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas "steeply" and de-regulating the prices and leaving it to the market.
Maintaining that the government was putting "deceptive arguments" to justify the hike and "refuses" to listen to the people's protests, the statement said the only way for the people was to "launch a powerful collective protest to compel the government to heed to their voice and withdraw the hikes".
They criticised the government for refusing to take any effective step to curb price rise of food and other essential items which was "causing acute suffering to the people".
The Left leaders said they were in discussions with some other secular opposition parties to join the hartal, which will be held from 0600 hours till 1800 hours.
All essential services like supply of water, milk, electricity, hospital and emergency services will be exempt from the hartal, they said.