New Delhi: UPA ally Samajwadi Party, along with a number of other non-UPA parties including BJP, will hold coordinated agitational programmes on September 20 across the country to protest the hike in diesel price and FDI in multi-brand retail.

In a joint statement, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav along with Left parties, JD(S), BJD and TDP alleged that the UPA government has "struck cruel blows on the people one after another" by raising diesel price, limiting subsidised cooking gas, opening up of multi-brand retail and disinvestment of PSUs.

"Let us all unite to stop these measures which will further burden the people and ruin their livelihood. Let there be a powerful protest on September 20 through hartals, picketing, demonstrations and court arrest programmes," the statement said.

Besides Yadav, the statement was signed by H D Deve Gowda (JD-S), Prakash Karat (CPI-M), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Naveen Patnaik (BJD), Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and T J Chandrachoodan (RSP).

BJP-led NDA separately announced that it will hold a nation-wide strike on the same day, September 20, to demand rollback of FDI in multi-brand retail and the Rs 5 hike in diesel prices.

NDA Working Chairperson L K Advani said the people of the country were feeling "suffocated" by the UPA government and want this to end. He asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to introspect and call for fresh polls.

"I am sure that the suffocation felt by the people for a long time is about to come to an end. It would be prudent and wise for the Prime Minister and the government itself to decide that they will not wait till 2014 for the people to give their opinion about the UPA government. Let them call for an early election. Let the people make a decision," he said.

SP and JD(S), which are supporting the UPA government from outside, have been critical of the government's decisions. They along with Left parties had earlier written a joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on price hike issue.

"It (UPA) has raised the price of diesel by Rs five per litre, burdening the farmers. It has limited subsidised gas cylinder per family to six and the rest will have to be bought at market price which is more than double.

"It has opened multi-brand retail trade to foreign supermarket chains, endangering livelihood of more than four crore people involved in retail trade and the mass of consumers. It is selling off shares of profitable PSUs and Navaratna companies like NALCO and Oil India," their statement said.

Asking public to protest the "anti-people measures", the leaders appealed to farmers, workers, women, youths, transporters, shopkeepers, traders organisations and all "patriotic-minded citizens" to join the movement.

NDA held a meeting this evening to discuss the new developments and all its constituents, BJP, JD(U), SAD and Shiv Sena, decided to hold the protests on the same day along with the Left parties, SP and JD(S).

Sources said these non-Congress parties are in touch with each other and are making all efforts to make the protests a big success.

The BJP alleged that government is in a very bad situation, more so since the Supreme Court observations on the coal allocations, and wanted to shift focus from the scam.

Hence it had announced FDI in multi-brand retail as a diversionary tactic.


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