The CPI on Sunday attacked the Centre for its alleged failure in checking spurt in the prices of essential commodities and also threatened to launch a statewide agitation seeking a special category status for Bihar.
"The UPA, even after the presentation of the Union Budget for 2009-10, remains silent on how it proposes to rein in the spiralling prices of foodgrains, especially those of pulses," CPI general secretary AB Bardhan told reporters. Voicing concern over the "neglect" of Bihar in the Union Budget for 2009-10, Bardhan said his party would hold demonstrations across the state seeking special state category. He claimed that CPI had been pressing for according the special status to Bihar since 1988.
"The CPI activists will hit the streets in large numbers to protest the Centre's apathy towards the cause of Bihar and seek formulation of a policy for controlling the price rise," he said. CPI workers would also resort to "fill the jail" campaign from the block-level to the divisional headquarters on August 27, 28 and 29 next month, he said.
Bardhan said the demand for declaring the entire state as "drought-hit" would also be raised during the agitaion.
Disputing the Centre's claim over improvement in the economic scenario, Bardhan said though the UPA government said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had registered an improvement, the fact was that the index remained stagnant at 10 per cent. Referring to the Food Security Bill brought by the UPA, Bardhan said his party stood for continuing the PDS.
"It will be better if the PDS is universalised for all to reach the benefits to the below and above poverty line people," Bardhan said and claimed that a recent survey had revealed that around 78 per cent people in India were still earning less than Rs 20 a day, which reflected their plight.
Bardhan accused the UPA of leading the country to an "era of privatisation" giving thrust on disinvestment and public private partnership (PPP).
"The UPA has begun its second innings at the Centre with thrust on disinvestment and PPP which will lead to an era of privatisation of even PSUs like National Thermal Power Corporation, Bharat Heavy Engineering Limited and ONGC, all profit-making units and declared navratnas," the CPI leader said.
"It is not good for the country and such decision needs to be reviewed," he said and added that the move was aimed at "bridging the fiscal deficits in the Union Budget".
"The beginning of the second innings has made it amply clear that the Central government has nothing for the common people on its agenda and it is sad," Bardhan said.