CPI(M) to counter oil price hike with protests, says Karat

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, May 30 | Updated: Jun 1 2008, 05:23am hrs
In a bid to pour cold water on the Centres expected move to reach a consensus on the issue of increasing oil prices, the CPI(M) on Friday said that it is not ready for any discussions on the matter. The central committee of the party in its two-day meeting observed that a hike will have a cascading effect on price rise and heap further the burden on people.

If the Centre hikes oil price, the inflation figures will touch double digits, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters after the meeting. He also warned the government that his party would call for protest programmes in consultation with other Left parties in the wake of a hike in oil prices.

Karat also denied oil minister Murali Deoras claim that the Left is cooperating with the measures to hike oil prices. He has not met any of us. There is no question of discussions on price hike, Karat said adding that his party is willing to discuss only the proposals the Left parties had suggested control increasing the prices. When asked whether the Left parties will hold a meeting with Sonia Gandhi on the issue, he said: On the issue of hike prices we are not meeting anyone.

He said his party and the other partners would decide the future course of action if the government goes ahead with the proposal to hike oil prices. When asked whether the Left will topple the UPA ministry on the issue, he said the central committee has entrusted the politburo to take any action.

Karat also said that the central committee has asked Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal governments to seek the options of tax reduction on oil prices. We have told our state governments to consider the issue. But the Centre should first reduce import and in excise duties on oil products, he said.