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Opposition calls all-India shutdown July 5

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) The Left parties, AIADMK, Telugu Desam Party, Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Tuesday called for a countrywide dawn-to-dusk strike July 5 to protest against the fuel price hike.

The parties accused the Congress-led government of giving ‘another cruel blow’ to the people by removing controls over petroleum pricing and raising the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.

‘This (shutdown) comes after its (central government’s) refusal to take any effective step to curb price rise of food items and essential commodities which is causing suffering to the people,’ said a statement jointly issued by the Left parties here.

‘On top of the food inflation at nearly 17 percent and the general inflation rate in double digits, the Congress-led government has callously raised the fuel prices making the burden on the people unbearable,’ it said.

The statement was issued by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party.

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bharthruhari Mahtab said people are badly affected by rising food prices and the central government should have discussed with state governments before further hiking fuel prices.

‘The timing of removing control over the petroleum pricing is also not acceptable. We have decided to jointly oppose the government’s decision,’ Mahtab told IANS.

The central government Friday ended government curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre, cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder and petrol by Rs.3.50 a litre.

AIADMK leader D. Maitreyan said that people have realised the true colour of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which came to power in the name of ‘aam aadmi’ (common man).

‘This government is anti-people and anti-poor. The decision to increase fuel prices is totally unacceptable. We are part of the opposition’s movement against the government,’ Maitreyan told IANS on phone from Chennai.

Recalling the cut motion moved by the opposition in Lok Sabha opposing the government’s budgetary proposals to raise fuel prices, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Nama Nageshwar Rao said the government’s decision to hike fuel prices again was ‘unfortunate’.

‘We moved a cut motion in the Lok Sabha, asking for a rollback of fuel price hike in the last session of parliament. But the government managed to defeat the cut motion. Now they have again increased fuel price. We will protest against this decision tooth and nail,’ Rao told IANS.

Samajwadi Party’s Uttar Pradesh spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said in Lucknow Monday that the party would join the nationwide strike called by the Left parties July 5.

The Left parties said the government is putting forth deceptive arguments to justify the hike and refuses to listen to the protests of the people.

‘The only way for the people is to launch a powerful collective protest to compel the government to withdraw the hikes,’ the statement said.

Appealing to all sections of society to register their protest by joining the strike, the leaders said the shutdown would be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

‘All essential services like supply of water, milk, electricity, hospital and emergency services will be exempt from the hartal (shutdown),’ it added.

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