Oppn closes ranks on fuel price hike, may call for 'Bharat Bandh'
Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, the opposition appears to be closing ranks against the UPA government's decision to hike fuel price with BJP, Left and parties from erstwhile Fourth Front on Sunday agreeing 'in principle' to hold a 'Bharat Bandh' on the issue.delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2010 17:49 IST
Ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament, the opposition appears to be closing ranks against the UPA government's decision to hike fuel price with BJP, Left and parties from erstwhile Fourth Front on Sunday agreeing 'in principle' to hold a 'Bharat Bandh' on the issue.
Sources said that the idea for such countrywide strike by all opposition parties in their respective strongholds floated by JD-U chief Sharad Yadav on Saturday, received the support of BJP, CPI-M, CPI, Samajwadi P arty, Telugu Desam Party and Indian National Lok Dal.
The date for the bandh is yet to be finalised.
Yadav, who is trying to bring the entire opposition together on the issue of price hike and the proposed deregulation of petroleum prices, is learnt to have talked to BJP president Nitin Gadkari, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, senior CPI leader AB Bardhan, INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, who "agreed in prinicple" to the idea of holding a joint agitation on the issue.
Sources said that Karat will be asking Mulayam to talk to RJD chief Lalu Prasad to bring him on board while efforts are also on to rope in other non-UPA parties like BSP, LJP, AIADMK and BJD.
A senior leader associated with the move said that the bandh will be a massive one with the slogan "Manhgai Roko Ya Gaddi Chhoro (Either check price rise or quit power)".
Since a number of parties in the opposition camp are not comfortable sitting with each other, the plan is to avoid any meeting of rgeir leaders to decide on the issue.
"Leaders will talk among themselves and fix a date on which each party in its area of influence will press the Bharat bandh call," the sources said.
A senior leader from the opposition camp said that the earlier attempt to call such a bandh during the budget session in March after fuel price hike had failed to take off as Left parties announced their bandh two days earlier.
"The move aims at exhibiting that the unity that the opposition showed during fuel price hike during the budget session still remains intact and the government should not take the opposition for granted," he added. The Monsoon session of Parliament will begin next month.
Yadav had yesterday appealed to all opposition parties to put aside their differences and come together on the issue and dispel the UPA government's notion that the opposition is divided.
"The UPA government has not only increased fuel prices but has also decided to hand over the country to the market. Government is under a false impression that the opposition is divided and hence, it can do whatever it likes.
"I request all opposition parties to come together to organise a nation-wide bandh and corner the government in Lok Sabha," Yadav told reporters yesterday recalling that the entire opposition had walked out from Lok Sabha on the issue of fuel price hike in the last session of Parliament.
"There is a need to agitate right from streets to Parliament (Sansad se Sadak) on the issue and provide leadership to people who were hit hard by the fuel price hike," he said.
First Published: Jun 27, 2010 17:40 IST