Opposition closes ranks on fuel price hike issue
New Delhi: 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 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 yesterday, received the
support of BJP, CPI-M, CPI, Samajwadi Party, 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 A B 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 their 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
"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.
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