UP opposition slams power hike, demands rollback

Lucknow, June 1 (IANS) Opposition parties and farmers groups in Uttar Pradesh Saturday slammed the Samajwadi Party (SP) government for the recent power tariff hike.

Angry at the steep hike in domestic and rural electricity tariff, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took out a massive protest march to the Shakti Bhawan, the headquarters of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), and demanded an immediate rollback.

Accusing the state government and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav of being "insensitive" to the woes of the people, state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpayee said that the party would step up its protests until the tariff hike is reversed. The party also questioned the pro-farmer stand of the SP and questioned the hike in rural power tariffs.

"Farmers are already suffering at the hands of the union government, which has hiked the prices of petrol and diesel. Now they face the electricity tariff hike," said Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state spokesperson of the BJP.

The Congress joined the anti-government chorus and accused the state government of "looting the people indirectly".

Zeeshan Haider, another state spokesperson of the Congress, said that the move was unfortunate as farmers were already getting no electricity and the state was facing its worst power crisis.

"The state government is not concerned about the farmers. The Congress will not sit quiet on the matter," Haider told IANS.

State president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Munna Singh Chauhan also billed the state SP government as anti-farmer and said that the party would pay heavily in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

"We will submit a memorandum to the governor and hold anti-government protests," he said, and alleged that the industrialist-government nexus had been proved beyond doubt as the power tariff for the industrial sector has not been hiked.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) general secretary Swamy Prasad Maurya and farmer leader Rakesh Tikait have also opposed the hike.

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