Left activists protest against hike in fuel prices

New Delhi: Left Front activists led by CPI-M leader Brinda Karat on Monday marched from Jantar Mantar towards the Parliament to protest the "anti-people" price hike in petroleum products.

The protesters vowed to intensify their agitation against the UPA government before they were stopped at the Parliament Street by the police.

Brinda said the move to hike the prices of diesel, kerosene and LPG betrayed the UPA government`s preference for the "khaas admi" as against the "aam admi", whose cause it claims to champion.

The activists from CPI, CPI-M, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), who gathered at Jantar Mantar, marched to demand a withdrawal of the price hike.

Questioning the timing of the hike that came closely after elections in four states, Brinda also said that crude prices at the international level were actually coming down and the oil and gas firms in India were making huge profits.

The CPI-M leader said the entire argument of `under recoveries` by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was "notional" rather than "actual". She also sought clarification over what the cost of production of oil products was and how much was the tax.

She also attacked the Trinamool Congress over its unwillingness to compel the government to give up ad valorem taxes, and termed a reduction of VAT on LPG in West Bengal as a "cosmetic show".