New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) Hundreds of CPI activists led by party General Secretary A B Bardhan today courted arrest to protest against the government failure to rein in the price rise and threatened that their support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance would now depend on how it dealt with the issue.
The other CPI leaders who courted arrest included national Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja, national Council member Mrs Amarjeet Kaur and Delhi unit leader Dinesh.
The CPI leaders courted arrest when they were prevented by the police from reaching Parliament where they wanted to hold a protest demonstration to hammer the point that the government is not keeping its promise to control the prices of essential commodities, revamp the PDS and contain black marketing and hoarding of food grains.
The slogan-shouting Left party leaders and activists who carried red flags, placards and banners, staged a rally before courting arrest. They gathered near the Jantar Mantar and proceeded towards Parliament, but were stopped in front of the Parliament Police station after they succeeded in crossing the first barricade.
Earlier addressing the protestors, Mr Bardhan, read out a long list of prices of essential commodities, comparing the increase from October 2006 to October 2007.
" As you have seen in some cases the prices have doubled and in others the increase has been one and half times. It is just a hoax that the government is claiming that the prices have been controlled," Mr Bardhan said adding that today's protest procession was a part of the nationwide agitation against the galloping price rise.
The CPI General Secretary while pointing out that good sense and reason had dawned on the government, which he said, had now put the Indo- US nuclear deal on the backburner." The government should now focus on the measures to control the price rise and other promises and commitments as enshrined in the Common Minimum Programme." Mr Bardhan said the government's failure to stop the forward trading in vegetables and foodgrains also contributed to the increase in the prices of essential commodities.
Mr Raja and Mrs Kaur asserted that the government move to allow FDI in retail under the Indian cover like that of Reliance and Bharti Mittal would be resisted tooth and nail." The interests of the small retailers will be safeguarded," they added.