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“Mamata's decision to waive LPG tax a tokenism”

Left Front to launch agitation against hike in fuel prices

Kolkata: Though welcoming the measure, Communist Party of India general secretary A. B. Bardhan said here on Monday that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's decision to waive the State Government-imposed tax on LPG in the wake of fuel price hike is “only an act of tokenism”.

Ms. Banerjee had announced on Saturday that household consumers in the State will see their LPG prices increase by only Rs.34 per cylinder as against Rs.50 decided by the Centre with the State Government's decision to waive its tax on LPG in an attempt to provide some relief to the consumers.

“Even as we appreciate the measure, it is a token one. At a time when so many allies of the United Progressive Alliance government, including the Trinamool Congress, are opposed to the hike in fuel prices, they should make a concerted effort to persuade a rollback of the prices,” Mr. Bardhan said at a press conference.

Referring to Ms. Banerjee calling up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late on Friday to register her unhappiness with the Centre's decision, Mr. Bardhan pointed out that if Ms. Banerjee's opposition to fuel price hike stops at uttered words rather than further action, her party will also be considered a partner in taking the anti-people decision. With two other UPA allies – Nationalist Congress Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam – also opposed to the fuel price hike decision, he appealed to all the ‘opposing' UPA allies to use their influence within the government to ensure a rollback of the hike.

Meanwhile, the Left Front has decided to launch a State-wide agitation against the Centre's decision to hike fuel prices from July 4 to 11.

CPI State secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar did not rule out calling a State-wide bandh during the period “in protest against the anti-people policy”.

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