New Delhi: Allies and opposition parties on Thursday attacked the Government over the hike in diesel prices saying it will further hit the common man and demanded an immediate rollback.

The second-largest constituent of the UPA—Trinamool Congress, strongly opposed the increase in diesel prices.

"We are unhappy. We will not accept it and demand its rollback," West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee said.

"We were not consulted for this," Railway Minister Mukul Roy, another TMC leader, told PTI from Kolkata.

TMC's reaction came after the government decided to hike diesel prices by Rs 5 per litre effective midnight.

The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, this evening decided to raise diesel prices by Rs 5 per litre, excluding VAT (value-added tax).

It also decided to restrict supply of subsidised cooking gas to six cylinders per household in a year.

The BJP termed the price hike as a cruel joke and "mortal blow" to the common man and farmers and charged the government with conspiring with petrol 'mafia'.

"This is a cruel joke on the common man in the country. It has hit farmers hard during the peak paddy sowing season. We will not allow this hike. We will not allow this government to loot the common man like this," BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha said, "Diesel increase will have a cascading effect on the economy as a whole. Prices are already not under control, so this is going to contribute to overall inflation and create mayhem in the economy."

CPI National Secretary D Raja termed the decisions as "retrogade and anti-people".

"It will have an adverse effect on the prices of essential commodities which are already high. It will further increase hardship of common people. Government should not go ahead," he said.  

Admitting that it was an "unpleasant" decision of the Government, Congress said that it was not in favour of a hike in diesel prices to such an extent because it hurts the farmers and the common man.

"We are not in favour of a hike in diesel prices to such an extent because it hurts the farmers and common man," party general secretary Digvijay Singh said.

The government has to take a conscious decision after taking all allies of the UPA into confidence, he said adding that this should be discussed in the UPA Coordination Committee.

Asked whether it affects the UPA's projection that it is the government of the 'aam aadmi', Singh said that the UPA I and UPA II have taken innumerable decisions benefiting common man.

"At the same time, there are some unpleasant decisions that have to be taken by the Government by taking an overall view of what is best for the country," he said.

The Samajwadi Party, which is providing outside support to the UPA, protested against the price hike.

"This hike is too big and has come after Parliament session got over. We will ask for a rollback as this is going to badly hit common people and farmers. Some concessions have to be given to the people," party leader Kamal Farooqi said here.

Charging the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre with lacking economic ideas to tackle the fuel price hike and betraying the people, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa also demanded immediate rollback of hike in diesel prices, besides the ceiling on supply of subsidized cylinders.

"Expressing my strong condemnation to this hike which will affect all sections of society. I demand the rollback of the hike in diesel price and ceiling in cylinder subsidy, if the UPA government is really concerned about the people," she said.

The Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that it was deliberate punishment meted out to the citizens for raising their voice against the Congress party.


Latest News from India News Desk