Opposition strike Thursday for FDI, diesel price hike rollback
The opposition parties will hold a nationwide strike Thursday demanding a rollback of the government's decision to hike diesel prices, cap subsidised cooking gas cylinders and allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.
The government last week hiked diesel prices by Rs.5 per litre, decided to cap subsidised cooking gas cylinders at six per household per year and allowed 51 percent foreign equity in multi-brand retail.
Workers of the Samajwadi Party, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India, the Telugu Desam Party, the Biju Janata Dal, the Janata Dal-Secular, the All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party have plans to organise picketing, demonstrations and court arrest, said a CPI-M release.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Front will also hold a 'bharat bandh'. "It will be a grand success," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
The government's decision on economic reforms has divided the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.
While UPA ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Tuesday announced a decision to pull out of the government, another coalition partner DMK would join the protests against the centre's economic measures.
According to the CPI-M release: "The Manmohan Singh government had announced the FDI in retail trade, sharply increased the price of diesel, limited the supply of cooking gas cylinders and initiated disinvestment in some of the top public sector enterprises. These policies and measures are totally against the interests of the people of the country."
"None of these measures have the support of the parties across the political spectrum. It is clear now with the stand taken by the allies of the Congress in the UPA that a majority of the members of parliament are against these policies," said the party.
The SP supports the UPA from outside but is opposed to FDI in multi-brand retail.
"We will protest all over Uttar Pradesh," Samajwadi Party leader Mohan Singh told IANS.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also called for a "Bharat Trade Bandh" to coincide with an opposition-sponsored all-India strike.
"There will be no commercial activity tomorrow (Thursday) across the country," CAIT said here.
The day will be marked by demonstrations and street protests. More than 25,000 trade associations will observe a shutdown, CAIT said.
In Delhi, a CAIT protest at Jantar Mantar will be attended by opposition leaders including Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI leader A.B. Bardhan.
Some private schools in the national capital advised parents not to send their wards Thursday keeping in mind the strike.
Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said adequate force will be deployed across the city to avoid any untoward incident.