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Karat attacks UPA on fuel price hike, threatens countrywide protests
Published on 17 Jan. 2011 12:19 AM IST
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Flaying the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for failing to control rising food inflation and repeatedly hiking petroleum prices, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Sunday said it will launch a countrywide agitation involving all Left and secular parties.
“On the one hand, the government fuels inflation. But still it talks about trying to curb price rise... The government has failed to control food inflation. We have been asking them to curb the forward trading of food items,” Karat told media persons after a two-day CPI-M politburo meeting here.
The CPI-M will chalk out a countrywide agitation plan by sitting with other Left parties and secular outfits on the twin issues, he said. Karat also took a dig at the Trinamool Congress (the second biggest party in the UPA) for staying quiet on the fuel price hike.
“They are part of this government and they have to answer how they are party to such policies, which are causing such an unbearable burden on the common man,” he said.
On the onion prices, which had shot through the roof, he said the government gave incentives to its export by reducing the minimum export price. “Then when shortage was created, they did away with the import duty thus again causing heavy gains for private traders.”
“The private traders are allowed to import, the private traders are allowed to export. The state agencies are not allowed to import onions. They (the government) are giving huge profits to private traders,” he said. Fielding queries on the 2G spectrum scam, Karat said his party would stick to its demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe, but also talk to all secular opposition parties for a common approach so that parliament can function during its budget session beginning in the third week of February.
“We have discussed the matter within the party and we stick to our demand of JPC. We also want parliament to function,” said Karat.
“Now how to achieve these two things? We have decided that we will talk to all other secular opposition parties we have been cooperating with and decide a common approach within these two parameters. We will try to work it out with secular opposition parties,” he said.
The opposition has been relentlessly demanding setting up of a JPC to probe the irregularities in the allocation of the 2G telecom spectrum in 2008. The government has rejected the demand. This led to the entire Nov 9-Dec 13, 2010 winter session of parliament being washed out.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kolkata-Kashmir Rashtriya Ekta Yatra, the CPI-M chief said it would worsen the situation in the Kashmir valley as the saffron party has no understanding of the situation there.
He termed the visit of a team of the Election Commission team from Sunday night to poll-bound West Bengal as “unprecedented” and “unusual”. “We do not think this will contribute to the capacity of the state administration to organise free and fair elections and maintain law and order,” Karat said.
He described the Jan 7 killing of nine people in Netai village of West Bengal’s West Midnapore district as “unfortunate” but denied to comment further as the investigation was on.
“Investigation is on and it is unfortunate that eight people (sic) have lost their lives. The high court will soon give a verdict on a petition. I don’t want to go further. We all know the situation of these districts and who is responsible for the violence there,” said Karat. The toll went up to nine Sunday with an injured woman succumbing in hospital.
He accused the Congress and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala of using the alleged lottery scam to score points against the ruling Marxists.
“Our government has been making several requests to the central government to take action. But nothing much has happened so far,” said Karat.

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