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Friction among UPA allies mounting: Raja

The Centre could have averted the price hike if it had "listened" to the suggestions made by the Left parties, party national secretary D Raja told reporters.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Tiruchirappalli
UPDATED ON FEB 15, 2008 09:49 PM IST

Criticising the Centre for increasing the price of petroleum products, the CPI on Friday said the "friction" among the UPA allies was "mounting" as the Congress was not listening to the constructive criticism of the Left parties.

The Centre could have averted the price hike if it had "listened" to the suggestions made by the Left parties, party national secretary D Raja told reporters here.

"The hike was unwarranted and the government could have managed the situation otherwise," he said. Left parties had suggested that the Centre should cut excise and customs duties to "minimise the burden on the common man".

The "friction" among the UPA allies was mounting, he said adding the Left parties were continuously posing constructive criticism but the Congress was brushing them aside.

The CPI was anticipating a "poor man's budget" this time. The party had made representations to the Prime Minister and Finance Ministry asking them to be more "soft" with the poor and the common man, he said.

If the Union Government has to increase its revenue, it can levy corporate taxes, those on share transfers and stock exchange transactions and gift-taxes, Raja said.

He said there was "something fishy" about the losses in the stock market as "when there was a loss somewhere there should be gain for somebody else".

Asking Finance Minister P Chidambaram to come out with the "truth", he said that the activities at the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange were "non-favourable" to small investors.

Brushing aside the security concerns raised on the Sethusamudram project, Raja asked the Centre to expedite the project in the interest of Tamil Nadu.

His party, alongwith CPI (M) would stage a rally on Feb 23 at Tuticorin to press this demand, he said.

Raja asked the Centre to be transparent on the progress of the Sethusamudram project and its expenditure.

"If 60 per cent of the work has been completed as claimed by Shipping Minister TR Baalu, why the setback now?" he asked. The Centre as well as the Congress party should clear their stand on the Sethusamudram project, Raja said.

He also condemned the Union Government on being "passive" on the planting of mines by the Sri Lankan Navy along the maritime border with India. It was the duty of the Centre to take appropriate steps to get the mines removed, he said.

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