Left parties in India protest fuel price hike

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Left parties, joined by regional forces like Samajwadi Party and Telugu Desam Party, today staged street protests to demand the roll back of the fuel price hike as the Communists said the UPA Government could not take their support for granted. Barring states ruled by the Left and Uttar Pradesh, where the ruling Samajwadi Party's workers stopped many trains and blocked highways at several places, the protests had little impact. Strikes by truckers against the price hike that coincided with the protests, however, affected transport services in Orissa, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh.

In Delhi, CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury and CPI's A B Bardhan courted arrest at the Parliament Street police station with a large number of Left activists. Leaders from the Samajwadi Party,Rashtriya Lok Dal and Janata Dal-Secular were also present. They said the protest was meant to mount pressure on the government to reverse its "anti-people" decision and the issue would be raised in the UPA-Left Coordination Committee meeting on Wednesday.

In West Bengal, the ruling Left Front organised sit-ins before the offices of oil PSUs. Normal life in Kerala, another Left-ruled state, was paralysed by a dawn-to-dusk strike called by trade unions. Shops and business establishments remained closed while attendance in government offices was thin. Over 5,000 Left activists, including CPI Secretary D Raja, were taken into custody across Tamil Nadu when they tried to picket Central Government offices and roads.