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Left reject suggestions on mid-term polls, fuel hike

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 4: Rubbishing senior BJP leader L K Advani's observation on snap polls as a ''day dreaming'', the Left parties today asserted there was absolutely no need to go in for mid-term elections at this juncture.

The Left leaders, however, asked the UPA government to desist from going ahead with its proposal to increase the fuel prices as it could manage the situation arising from hardening global prices by ''re-structuring'' the tax component for petroleum products. They would raise the issue in the extended Budget session this month.

The Government is mulling a Rs 2-3 per litre hike in petrol and diesel prices as oil firms are losing around Rs 10 per litre on the fuels due to hardening global prices.

Leader of the opposition and former Deputy Prime Minsiter, Mr Advani said yesterday the popularity of the UPA government was at its lowest and if elections were held immediately, the NDA was sure to come back.

On Mr Advani's comment on mid term polls, CPI Genenral Secretary A B Bardhan told UNI that, ''There is no such urgency for any snap polls, but nobody can stop Mr Advani from day dreaming. Still worse, he is a man in a tearing hurry.'' Mr Bardhan held that the BJP should first analyse the reasons for its own debacle in 2004 and come out with corrections in its policies and programmes that got rejected by the people. ''Emotional issues and attempts to communalise the social atmosphere like the one in Vadodra will not pay any more as the poeple have already passed through that phase.'' Elaborating, CPI National Secretary Shamim Faizi said the realignment of political forces would take its own time. ''The Left at this juncture is not interested in what Mr Advani is visualising.'' The Left had already committed itself to reviewing the functioning of the UPA government, which completed its two years in office on May 21, he said.

The CPI national executive is meeting here on May 21 and 22 for the purpose while the CPI(M) Polit Bureau is also likely to discuss the issue on May 13 and 14.

Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said the BJP would see a writing on the wall and realise about its real position on the ground when the results of the five assembly polls are out. Even now, the Left was watching the political situation very minutely, he said adding that the ''churning process'' among the regional parties had already begun. ''But there is no question of mid-term polls.'' On the government's move to hike the prices of fuel products, Mr Bardhan said, ''It is true that the international market was soaring but there are various ways and means to control the fuel prices within the country.'' In the past also, Mr Bardhan said the Left had suggested that the pricing system should be overhauled so as to avoid burden on the consumers. ''This is so particularly about the diesel, the main fuel for transport system becuase if diesel prices are increased, it will have a cascading effect on essential commodities.'' CPI National Secretary Shamim Faizi suggested the surplus funds lying with the oil companies and the government in the Pool Acount needed to be utilised to offset the increase in the international market.

''Similarly the excise duty should also be re-defined and needs to be brought to zero. The state governments should also review their taxation policy in favour of consumers,'' Mr Faizi added.

CPI(M) Parliamentary Group leader in the Lok Sabha, Basudeb Acharya wondered why the Government was thinking about the increase in the fuel prices when the extended Budget Session was going to begin on May 10. ''We want the government not to go ahead with its proposal. We will oppose the government move on the floor of the House.'' Mr Devrajan said the Left parties had already submitted a detailed note to the UPA-Left Coordination Committee wherein they had suggested that the oil companies must adopt strict austerity measures and not spend lavishly on advertisements.

''It is the duty of the government to protect the people from unnecessary price hike as any increase will have a cascading effect on the below poverty line families, the poor and the middle classes who are already reeling under the impact of the sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities,'' he added.


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