Left announces price rise campaign
Within days of the CPM’s call for a “third alternative” at its party congress, the Left and UNPA leaders came together on the same platform on Sunday to announce plans for a week-long countrywide campaign on price rise from April 16.
In a perceived attempt at positioning for the elections to state assemblies and the Lok Sabha, the two groups put up a joint charter of demands to arrest the situation of the runaway rise in prices of essential commodities.
Strengthening the PDS and a ban in the future trading of 25 agricultural commodities are among the demands put up from a platform shared by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury and Amar Singh of the Samajwadi Party, apart from TDP’s Yerran Naidu. Left partners, including Abani Roy (RSP), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and D.Raja (CPI) were among others present.
Joint campaign programmes such as picketing of government offices will be organised across the country and in the Capital for demanding measures including cut in customs and excise duties on oil and reduction in the retail prices of petrol and diesel. At these meetings, a call is also likely to be made for stringent action against hoarding of essential commodities, strengthening the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act and to empower states to deal with hoarding and black-marketing.
On April 19, a symposium on the price rise issue will also be jointly organised by the Left and UNPA.
Measures adopted by the UPA to control prices have been inadequate, because these flow out of an erroneous premise that prices have risen because of greater liquidity in the economy — and consequent increase in demands, Yechury said.