New Delhi/Patna/ Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 8 (ANI): The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) staged mass rallies across the country on Thursday to protest against high prices of essential commodities and to highlight the failure of the Congress-led Government to keep a check on it.
In New Delhi, CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India (CPI) General Secretary A B Bardhan and Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Biswas led the demonstration near Parliament House.
Raising slogans against the government, the activists demanded strengthening of the public distribution system, implementation of land reform schemes and more employment opportunities.
Prakash Karat said that the party would work on a strategy to intensify the movement.
"How to coordinate our stand on some of the provisions of finance like increase in the taxes on petrol, diesel and crude oil. We will work out a common strategy and chalk out how to counter the price rise and intensify the price rise movement," said Prakash Karat.
In Patna, the CPI-M activists led by senior party leader Brinda Karat defied the local restrictions and staged a protest.
Brinda Karat said the Central Government should change its policy, as the common people have to bear the brunt of the steep price rise.
"Due to the wrong policies made by the Central Government, people across the country are facing the brunt. Today, prices of all essential commodities have increased so much that it has disturbed the budget of common people. Ruling party should change its policies and bring down the price of petrol and diesel," said Karat.
"Every poor family should receive 35 kilogram of food grains at price of Rs 2 per kilogram. Although government is earning millions of rupees through black marketing, the general public is made to suffer. This is a wrong policy and they should change it," she added.
Brinda Karat was later arrested by the police along with her party workers for bypassing the restrictions imposed in the city.
At Thiruvananthapuram, the activists of the Left Front held protest meetings outside Post Master General's office, the General Post Office and office of the General Manager of Telephones.
The protestors almost laid a siege as they blocked the entrance to these buildings since the morning.
The wholesale price index rose 7.3 percent in December from a year earlier, its highest since November 2008, and accelerated from a 4.8 percent gain in November.
The rise was driven by near 20 percent jump in food prices, which rose on weak monsoon rains and flooding in parts of the country, but inflation in manufacturing products picked up to 5.2 percent from four percent in November, a sign that inflationary pressures were spreading to other sectors of the economy. Sugar, in particular, has been a problem with the Congress Party caught in the middle of competing demands from consumers, who want lower prices while cane farmers seek higher prices for their produce.
The supply situation deteriorated further in recent months when Uttar Pradesh, seeking to help cane farmers, banned processing raw sugar, jamming 750,000 tonnes of raw sugar at ports. (ANI)