Opposition parties slam oil price hike

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) The opposition parties Monday slammed the government over the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices, demanded a rollback and staged a walkout in the Rajya Sabha.

While the Left parties raised the issue in the Lok Sabha for a short duration, the opposition attack was sharper in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority.

The government also drew flak for media reports that it planned to shut down petrol pumps at night to curb fuel demand.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said: "The government has lost its sense of proportion...closing petrol pump at night, is it the way of lowering petrol consumption?"

"The government is in confusion, doesn't know what to do, if petrol pumps are closed at night, queues during the day will be longer," he said.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily denied the media reports.

"We have not taken any decision. It is not our idea. It is an idea which is coming from public and others," Moily said.

In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised during zero hour, following which members from Left parties, the Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party walked out to protest the government's decision.

BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said parliament was in session and without taking parliament into confidence, oil prices were increased.

Members of the Trinamool Congress stood in the house holding posters that demanded diesel price hike be scrapped.

"This government has declared a war on the common man and ultimately it will increase the prices of all other essential commodities," said Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien.

Members of the Trinamool Congress, along with the Samajwadi Party, staged a walkout.

The members demanded reply from the oil minister on increase in oil prices.

"This is the sixth increase in oil prices in the last three months and it will increase misery of common people," said Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prasanta Chatterjee.

Many members requested the chair to allow them to speak on the issue, but the call was turned down.

"Since we were not allowed to speak on the issue, we are staging a walkout," said CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury.

Petrol price was increased Rs.2.35 a litre and diesel by Re.0.50 a litre last week.

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