BJP targets Sonia on price rise


Prime VIP
To observe July 1 as Mahangai Virodh Diwas

New Delhi, June 28

Even as the Opposition, across party lines, is gearing up to launch a nationwide agitation on price rise, and in particular, the hike in petroleum products’ prices, the BJP has targeted Sonia Gandhi for the same.

Addressing newsmen here today, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar said, “What is the NAC doing on price rise? Not just the Prime Minister, the UPA chairperson, too, is answerable to the nation for price rise.”

He pointed out that the first task the NAC performed after she took over, was suggesting petrol price hike. Kumar also demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for this saying that he had stated on the first anniversary of UPA-II that price rise was a serious issue and promised to deal with it, yet nothing has been done.

The BJP leader announced that his party would observe July 1 as Mahangai Virodh Diwas across the country. “Rallies will be organised in state capitals and prominent cities against price rise,” he said.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari will lead the protests in Ratlam that day, while Sushma Swaraj in Raipur, M Venkaiah Naidu in Chennai, Rajnath Singh in Bhubaneshwar and Murli Manohar Joshi in Ranchi.

The party is also carrying out a signature campaign against price rise and has set a target of collecting 10 crore signatures before the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning next month.

Meanwhile, NDA convenor Sharad Yadav announced a parallel agitation plan for July 5 in which constituents of the NDA, Left and others like the TDP, SP, JD-S, INLD and PMK will participate in “Bharat Bandh” on 5 July to protest fuel price hike. JD(U) president alleged that, “Just to increase GDP, the UPA government boosted automobile industry that led to hike of petrol, diesel and kerosene prices,” he said.

Similarly the BSP, too, has decided to agitate against price rise. While the SP is joining the Left and NDA parties demonstrations, the BSP will hold statewide agitation in Uttar Pardesh on July 6.


Prime VIP
UPA justifies hike

New Delhi, June 28

Faced with widespread protests, the government today sought to justify the steep rise in the prices of petroleum products. Official sources asserted that the government had effectively modulated the retail prices of the auto fuels and not passed on the full burden of international oil prices to the consumer.

They pointed out that when the UPA government came to office in May 2004, the prices of the Indian basket of crude oil was $36 per barrel. Since then, the price of the Indian basket of crude oil has increased by 111 per cent whereas the retail price of petrol has gone up only by 53 per cent and that of diesel by 85 per cent. — TNS

It’s disastrous: Cong leader

New Delhi, June 28

His party might be defending the hike in petroleum products’ prices dubbing it a “compulsion” of the government, but senior Congress leader Anil Shastri today termed the price hike as “disastrous” for the common man.

Shastri has appealed party president Sonia Gandhi to immediately intervene in the matter on the day Congress spokesman Manish Tewari advised states to rationalise taxes on petroleum products to bring relief to the common man.

“The government had to take the decision keeping in mind international situation. States can monitor their tax regimes to mitigate its (fuel hike) effect,” Tewari said. — TNS