Refusing to take the price hike issue lying down in poll-bound Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has already shot off a letter of protest to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
On Monday the party, the second largest party in the UPA with 19 MPs, has hit the streets of West Bengal to protest the petrol price hike. On January 19, they are supposed to meet the prime minister over the price hike issue.
"We did not know this would happen. Nobody talked to us, or discussed with us before the recent petroleum price hike," said Mamata Banerjee.
"The UPA is supposed to be the aam aadmi ka sarkar. But the slogan seems to be false now. We have already sent a letter to the government and our leader Mamata Banerjee will take it up with the prime minister," said Sultan Ahmed, union minister of state for tourism.
Ahmed said the party is against the government policy of decontrolling the petroleum price.
"Oil marketing companies should not decide the price. This policy is inappropriate," Ahmed said.
The Centre had announced the decision to decontrol petrol prices on June 25, 2010.
Trinamool's biggest opponent the CPI(M) has seized the opportunity to portray Mamata Banerjee as an advocate of anti-people policies.
Banerjee's stance has exposed her to the risk of putting her tenuous pre-poll alliance with Congress at risk, but her party's leaders are not mincing words.
"Even during our meeting with Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday (January 15), this round of petrol price hike was concealed from us. We emerged from the meeting and came to know from the media about it," said Sudip Bandopadhyay, party chief whip in the Lok Sabha.
Bandyopadhyay said Mamata Banerjee's long standing demand is that a special committee should be set up in UPA to look into such matters.
"This was never heeded. We are an ally but the people come first," added Bandopadhyay.
On Monday, CITU observed a three-hour transport strike in Kokata. Trinamool, too, took out a rally from Esplanade to Moulali on the same issue, apart from organising public meetings at every block in the state.
Annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 8.43% in December 2010. In November 2010 the figure stood at 7.48%.
The fuel inflation rose to 11.19% in December from 10.3% in November.
Faced with a do-or-die polls, Trinamool can ill afford to stay silent in the face of such statistics.