Fuel hike sends ''alarming signal'' to 'Aam Admi': Left

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (UNI) Taking strong exception to the government's unilateral decision on fuel hike, the Left parties today said it had sent a wrong message to the people of the country ahead of the February 29 general budget and an ominous indication of things to come.

They also warned the Congress that it would have to pay a heavy price in the nine assembly polls slated this year and the Lok Sabha polls next year.

The Left parties said the government did not realise that its decision to ignore the Left's ''alternative proposals'' would further contribute towards its ''overwhelming'' loss of support of the 'Aam Admi'.

Only a few days ago, all the four Left parties had asked the Centre not to go for the fuel hike on the plea that it would not only burden the common man but also add to inflationary pressures besides upsetting the financial and price stability.

The government today hiked the retail price of petrol by Rs two per litre and diesel by Re one a litre, to offset the losses incurred by oil marketing companies (OMCs) due to continued surge in global prices of oil by Rs 840 crore.

While the CPI Central Secretariat asked its all units in the country to hold protest against fuel hike, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe told UNI the government's decision would further alienate the people from the Congress.

The CPI said, ''It is unfortunate that the government had chosen to ignore the Left suggestions-- reducing the customs and excise duty on oil, changing over from ad valorem to specific duties and setting up of the Stablisation Fund among others.'' It said the Left parties in all these months had been warning the government against the fuel hike because this would have an adverse effect on the general price situation.

The prices of all essential commodities were already ranging very high in the market, the CPI said, adding that this would have a cascading effect.

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