A day after the government announced a massive Rs. 7.54 a litre hike in petrol prices, friends and foes alike slammed the UPA. Countrywide protests marked Thursday, even as Kerala and Uttarakhand slashed state taxes to cushion the blow and the Congress asked other states to follow suit while welcoming the decision of the two state governments.
In New Delhi, the Left parties announced an all-India protest day on May 31. Hartals, demonstrations, picketing, rasta rokos and rallies would be held to mark the “savage attack on the people”, said a statement issued by the Left parties.
Rallies held by three parties, including the Trinamool Congress, threw traffic out of gea.
“We were neither consulted nor called for discussion over the hike,” said railways minister Mukul Roy.
People across Maharashtra burnt effigies and blocked roads and highways to protest the hike.
Congress ally NCP also demanded a rollback.
Condemning the steep hike as wholly illegitimate Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said the Congress-led UPA was on a ventilator in ICU and a mid-term election was the only way out for the nation.
A Left-sponsored shutdown crippled life in Kerala. The Congress-led government, however, waived the additional sales tax on petrol, which would bring down the price by R1.63 per litre in the state.
“We have requested the Centre to roll back the hike,” said CM Oommen Chandy.
Punjab tops the chart among the states where petrol has become the costliest, at Rs. 80.25 per litre.
Various parties held protests in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali and threatened to launch an agitation if the prices were not rolled back.
Parties, traders’ associations and NGOs staged demonstrations and torched effigies of the Centre across the state demanding an immediate rollback.