Bharat bandh against hike in Fuel prices : Thousands arrested

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Pintu, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...s-may-face-tough-time/articleshow/6127769.cms

    Bharat Bandh tomorrow: Delhi commuters may face tough time
    4 Jul 2010, 1724 hrs IST,AGENCIES

    NEW DELHI: Delhiites could face some hardships in reaching their destinations tomorrow as the workers of opposition parties, including the Left and BJP, plan to block traffic in several parts of the city as part of their 'Bharat Bandh' against price rise.

    The four Left parties -- CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc -- will organise a protest demonstration at the busy ITO Chowk, which connects east Delhi with the heart of the capital.

    The Left parties will be joined by Samajwadi Party, Telugu Desam, JD(S), BJD, AIADMK and INLD in other parts of the country.

    The Left parties will be organising protests at nine places in the capital while there will be three demonstrations in Ghaziabad and one in Noida. Out of the total 13 demonstrations by the Left, three will be organised by CPI(M) alone.

    BJP will also organise protests across the city. In the main protest in Chandni Chowk, BJP president Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh will take part.

    Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta meanwhile appealed to managements to keep their schools closed tomorrow and requested parents not to send their children to schools.

    "All shops will remain closed and only emergency services are exempt from the strike," Gupta said.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
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  3. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...andh-hits-normal-life/articleshow/6129719.cms

    NDA, Left nationwide bandh hits normal life
    TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES, Jul 5, 2010, 09.59am IST

    NEW DELHI: Life in many parts of the country was disrupted on Monday with non-Congress political parties enforcing a nationwide bandh against the increase in fuel prices.

    Many schools, colleges and offices were shut across the country and flights were cancelled. The impact of the strikes varied from state to state.

    Delhi was partially affected by the strike with reports of BJP workers disrupting movement of vehicles in some parts of the city. However, flights and trains services were functioning normally. Most schools, colleges and offices remained open.

    IANS reported that in Mumbai, taxis and most autorickshaws remained off roads, more as a precautionary measure against damage from hooliganism than in support of the shutdown call. Schools, colleges, many private offices remained closed, but the city's lifeline - suburban trains and BEST - were partially affected.

    In Pune, 12 city buses were damaged by activists trying to enforce the bandh, a PTI report said. The buses plying in Kothrud and Pimpri area were stopped and stoned, damaging window panes, a spokesman of the Pune municipal corporation said.

    Authorities have deployed about 40,000 police personnel on the streets of Mumbai to avert any incidence of violence, PTI added.

    Train services were obstructed trains in Patna as several protesters stopped express trains. BJP-ruled Karnataka and state was practically shut down, many software firms closed in Bangalore. There were few autos and taxis on the roads. However, trains were reported to be running normally in the state.

    The air services in Kolkata, a leftist bastion, no flights were operating to and from the airport. Many private airlines have cancelled flights till 6 pm. In Orissa, normal life was affected as road and rail services were hit in the state, reports said. Several trains were running late as protesters sat on rail tracks. Although the state government has not ordered closure of schools and colleges, most of them witnessed thin attendance.

    On Sunday, NDA working chairperson L K Advani after a meeting of top NDA leaders said, "This may be the first time in the history of India's politics that almost all political parties will participate in the Bharat bandh."

    Advani claimed the government had become "insensitive" to price rise and said that though UPA had been espousing the cause of the common man since 2004, prices were on the rise. "Despite so much increase in food prices, the government has increased prices of petroleum products," he said.

    Price rise will figure in the forthcoming monsoon session, Advani said, adding that even if prices were not rolled back, it was the responsibility of the Opposition to voice the people's protest.

    The government was unfazed, with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee ruling out a relook at the decision to increase prices and Congress slamming what it called "cheap and opportunistic politics at the cost of the nation".

    What can provide edge to the protest this time is that both the BJP-led NDA and Left are a part of the action on Monday, raising the possibility of serious disruptions in states where non-Congress governments are in power.

    The BJP and the Left have worked hard to pre-empt any perception of a collaboration, to deny Congress an opportunity to accuse CPM of a partnership with "communal forces".

    But the competition among Opposition parties to emerge as the main vehicle of the popular unease over price rise is likely to lead them to put their best agitational foot forward on Monday.

    Emergency services will not be disrupted during the strike. Advani appealed to all NDA members participating in the strike to ensure that it was conducted peacefully.
     
  4. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://www.ptinews.com/news/764739_Bharat-Bandh-hits-normal-life-in-Maha

    Bharat Bandh hits normal life in Maha

    STAFF WRITER 11:40 HRS IST

    Mumbai, Jul 5 (PTI) Normal life was hit today in several parts of Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai where stone-pelting BJP and Shiv Sena activists tried to disrupt road and rail traffic during the 12-hour bandh called by the opposition to protest price rise.

    Cracking down on trouble makers in Mumbai and other places, the police have detained nearly 10,000 people since yesterday, official sources said.

    Considering low passenger load in view of the bandh, domestic airlines have cancelled 45 departures and 39 arrivals at the domestic airport here.

    While taxis and auto-rickshaws are off the road in the country's financial capital, municipal buses and local trains are plying with very few passengers during the usually crowded morning hours.

    Schools and colleges in most areas were closed as a precautionary measure.

    At suburban Mulund railway station, BJP workers led by former MP Kirit Somaiya were detained while staging "rail roko".
     
  5. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://www.ptinews.com/news/764677_Bandh-affects-normal-life-in-Bihar

    Bandh against fuel price hike affects life in Bihar

    STAFF WRITER 10:54 HRS IST

    Patna, July 5 (PTI) Normal life was today severely hit in Bihar as train and road services ground to a halt while shops and business establishment pulled down their shutters following the nation-wide strike called by NDA and Left parties to protest the fuel price hike.

    Several long distance and passenger trains, including New Delhi-Muzaffarpur Sampark Kranti Express were detained at different stations in Bihar following the agitation, East Central Railway (ECR) Chief Public Relations Officer, Dilip Kumar said.

    The Rajgir-Danapur passenger train was detained at Karahdhi, Hatia-Patna express at Jehanabad, Gaya-Patna passenger train at Islampur besides over 10 mail express trains were detained at Sasaram, Vikarmganj, Dholi, Narahan, Motihari, Sitamarhi and Jainagar railway stations in Bihar by the agitators, Kumar said.

    Bandh supporters cut hose pipes of some trains and squatted on the railway tracks to enforce the agitation.
     
  6. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://www.ptinews.com/news/764991_Left-parties-hold-demonstrations-in-capital

    Left parties hold demonstrations in capital

    STAFF WRITER 13:19 HRS IST

    New Delhi, Jul 5 (PTI) Left parties today staged demonstrations in the national capital as part of the Bharat Bandh and blocked traffic in some parts.

    Senior leaders A Bardhan and D Raja (CPI) and Brinda Karat (CPI-M) participated in the demonstration at ITO besides a large number of activists.

    The four Left parties -- CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc -- organised a protest demonstration at the busy ITO Chowk, which connects east Delhi with the heart of the capital.

    The Left parties organised protests at nine places in the capital while three demonstrations were organised in Ghaziabad and one in Noida. Out of the total 13 demonstrations by the Left, three were organised by CPI(M) alone.
     
  7. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://www.ptinews.com/news/764960_Bharat-Bandh-affects-normal-life-in-Jharkhand

    Bharat Bandh affects normal life in Jharkhand

    STAFF WRITER 13:5 HRS IST

    Ranchi, July 5 (PTI) Normal life was hit in Jharkhand today following the opposition-sponsored 'Bharat Bandh' with most educational institutes remaining closed and many buses going off roads, while 200 strike supporters were arrested from various areas.

    Leaders and workers of Left and BJP separately hit the streets across the state to enforce the bandh against spiralling prices. The strike is being observed peacefully, police said here.

    Passengers were stranded at bus stands after private bus operators suspended their services while non-operation of trucks affected mining activities in several districts.

    Two trains were halted at Jamtara station as bandh supporters squatted on the tracks, police said.

    Security forces have been deployed in strength at strategic points including railway stations, bus stands and airport to keep bandh supporters at bay, a senior police officer said.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I don't like bandhs and other disruptive activities.

    I am, however, aghast at the Govt being clever by half by slowly pushing prices over a span of time, hoping that the am admi or whatever is the hollow war cry, will not realise the Machiavellian sleight of hand.

    In Parliament the Govt has the votes and the CBI to ensure a favourable outcome or so said someone in the Opposition. Therefore, what is the answer?

    The Telegraph headline chastises the States for supporting the bandh but not giving any tax concessions. True. However, what about the Union Govt? Aren't they the one who makes the policies and take the major share of the taxes and yet does not have the mechanism to ensure that the am admi really benefits from the various populist schemes that they churn up every now and then?

    So far there has only been hot air of getting the money back from the Swiss Banks!!!!! It will never happen since it will be embarrassing for the quite a few! Remember, the Natwar Singh episode?

    As Rajiv Gandhi said that only 15 Paise out of every Rupee of any scheme reaches the beneficiary. The remainder goes to the Swiss Banks I presume. It is said in the media and elsewhere that India leads in deposits in Swiss Banks. More than the US mafia and other organised crime syndicates! If the money reached the people for whim it is meant, then there would be no requirement of the plethora of indirect taxes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  9. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Thousands Arrested in Fuel Price Protests in India

    By HEATHER TIMMONS and HARI KUMAR

    Published: July 5, 2010

    NEW DELHI — Protests against a recent increase in fuel prices shut down markets, schools, airports and businesses across India on Monday, and thousands of people were arrested as violence flared in some cities.

    Indian police in Mumbai detained party activists at a protest during a nationwide strike against the hike in fuel prices on Monday.

    A group of protesters on motor bikes in Bangalore rode past tires set ablaze during a nationwide strike over fuel prices.

    The effect of the demonstrations — spearheaded by political parties that oppose the governing coalition led by the Indian National Congress — far exceeded expectations, although no official estimates of crowds were immediately available. The vocal and sizable opposition to higher fuel prices may indicate that the Congress party, elected by more votes than forecast last year, is losing some support, said political analysts and people affected by the strike.

    “This will create some sense of fear in the government,” predicted Vikas Sharma, 35, the owner of a cloth shop in Old Delhi, who was sitting idly outside his store. The “government will be forced to take some steps,” he said.

    As it moved to eliminate subsidies on petroleum products, the Congress government said June 25 it would raise the price of gasoline by 3.5 rupees, or 7.5 cents, a liter. Diesel is being raised by 2 rupees a liter, and kerosene, which makes up a large portion of expenses for poor people, by 3 rupees.

    India’s state-run fuel companies must sell oil and natural gas at government-set rates and will lose 530 billion rupees this fiscal year, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said last month. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Sunday that the fuel price increases would not be rolled back, regardless of the scope of the protests Monday.

    The Congress government is paring market controls that keep prices of some goods artificially low in India. At the same time, it is investing in employment programs.

    “The main thing they are trying to do is move away from subsidies to spend on development,” Nikhilesh Bhattacharyya, an economist for Moody’s economy.com. “It is a slow process, a very slow process,” he said.

    Opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), say the reforms are misguided and harmful to the average citizen.

    “Wrong economic policies and bad governance is the basic reason for the price rise,” said Nitin Gadkari, president of the B.J.P., which is the Congress party’s main rival.

    The prime minister, Mr. Gadkari added, is “more worried about the financial condition of oil companies than the condition of poor people.”

    Fear of violence or transportation snarls kept some of India’s largest companies closed Monday, including the information technology giants Wipro and Infosys in Bangalore. Airports in Calcutta and Chennai were paralyzed, and taxis stayed off the streets in major cities.

    The strike cost India’s economy about 30 billion rupees, the Confederation of Indian Industry said. “The worst affected are daily wage earners and people dependent on small trade,” the trade group said.

    About 1,000 people gathered at Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s main commercial hub, to protest the price increases and listen to speeches by opposition politicians.

    Protesters carried three effigies of paper and sticks, with heads of demons. They yelled, “Sheila Dikshit, down, down” naming the chief minister of the capital region, who is a member of the Congress party, before setting fire to the figures.

    “Inflation deflates the hopes of the common man, down with price rises,” read one signboard at the protest. “The poor man’s plate is empty and the government is clapping,” read another.

    Many of the country’s citizens are not feeling the benefits of India’s fast-paced economic growth, which is expected to top 8 percent this year. India’s wholesale price index, a measure of inflation, rose 10.16 percent in May from a year before.

    Inflation is driving up food prices, but salaries of low- and middle-income workers have not risen significantly, making basic commodities like lentils and milk much more expensive. Laborers on construction and road projects in New Delhi, for example, can be paid as little as 150 rupees a day, while a kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of the most commonly eaten lentils costs as much as 70 rupees.

    Poor monsoon rains in recent years mean that farmers, who make up more than half of India’s workers, have suffered. “It is a very poor country, and that growth isn’t really broad-based,” Mr. Bhattacharyya said. For the average farmer, 8 percent growth “doesn’t mean much,” he said.

    The strike also caused problems for poor people. “We are the worst victims of the price rise, and we suffer in the closure as well,” said Kishen Dev, a 35-year-old day laborer who was sitting on road in Chandni Chowk. Mr. Dev said he was a father of four who generally earned 125 to 150 rupees a day, but on Monday he made nothing.

    In Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, normally chock-a-block main roads were empty because most stores and offices were closed.

    Buses and commuter trains were running much less frequently than usual after protesters attacked some buses and blocked train tracks. Taxi drivers kept their cars off the road, making it hard for people without vehicles to move around the city.

    On a main thoroughfare in central Mumbai, stores and banks were closed, though automatic teller machines were still operational. The country’s two main stock exchanges were open but trading was very light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2010
  10. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/BJP-enthused-by-success-of-strike/articleshow/6132204.cms

    BJP enthused by 'success' of strike
    TNN, Jul 6, 2010, 12.12am IST

    NEW DELHI: For the BJP leadership devoid of a political success since a long time, the effective Bharat bandh on Monday gave the party something to crow about and encouraged it to take the protest to Parliament in the monsoon session starting on July 26.

    A visibly satisfied party chief Nitin Gadkari attacked the government while dragging Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the line of fire. "Why does the rajkumar (Rahul Gandhi) not speak about this," he asked as he urged Sonia and PM Manmohan Singh to "break their silence".

    While the NDA and Left had given separate bandh calls, party leaders publicly recognized that the "coincidence" helped them with better results. Both the NDA and the Left parties slammed the government for the situation faced by people and targeted the PM, asking him to quit if he was unable to deal with it.

    Senior BJP leaders Arun Jaitley, M A Naqvi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Gopinath Munde, Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh and Gadkari, along with JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur, led protests on the streets and courted arrest across the country. After a long time, the leaders were seen leading their cadres and voicing the concerns of the common man.

    Both NDA and Left leaders said the protest was beyond party affiliations and would continue in Parliament in the monsoon session beginning on July 26. "UPA-2 has left people at the mercy of market forces and the monsoon. While market forces are deciding the prices of essential commodities, the PM is hoping that monsoon will be good and it will bring down foodgrain prices," Sharad Yadav said.

    NDA working chairman L K Advani hailed the bandh's success and gave "full credit to the UPA government that ensured, by its policies, spontaneous support from the common man to the protest".
     
  11. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...n-non-Congress-states/articleshow/6132202.cms

    Bandh near-total in non-Congress states
    TNN, Jul 6, 2010, 12.11am IST

    NEW DELHI: The opposition scored a major success on Monday with its call for a Bharat bandh finding resonance in large parts of states which have non-Congress governments, like Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa. The protest appeared to be be effective in many parts of Congress-ruled states as well like in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Goa. BJP succeeded in paralysing activities in large parts of Jharkhand which is under central rule.

    The success of the protest was facilitated by the coming together of BJP-led NDA and the Left. Both sides maintained a safe distance to deny Congress an opportunity to accuse CPM of connivance with "communal" BJP. But that the two sides took to the streets the same day led to a Right-Left pincer.

    The growing conviction of the opposition that price rise may have finally regained the resonance it enjoyed till the 1990s played the bigger role. Parties encouraged their cadre to enthusiastically enforce the bandh as they felt convinced that the grievances over inconvenience was not going to crystallize into a huge resentment against those behind the bandh.

    For the Congress, it was like a shot fired across its bows. The party has so far weathered opposition's protests over inflation to win Lok Sabha and assembly elections. But with Monday serving evidence that the unease over prices may have reached the tipping point after the recent hike in petrol prices, it is sure to find its manoeuvre space hugely shrunk.

    It responded to the bandh by accusing the BJP of being an irresponsible Opposition, and by accusing the CPM of hobnobbing with the saffronites. But as the day wore on, there was a grudging acknowledgement that it was time party chief Sonia Gandhi leaned hard on PM Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to rein in prices.
     
  12. plugwater

    plugwater Elite Member Elite Member

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  13. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    This bloody bundh was a joke. Bull Shit. The entire nation was held to ransom by people looking for narrow political gains. Yes it was not for the aam aadmi but for political gains which i doubt will be gained.
    The BJP is not going anywhere with this. Fuel price rise is an international phenomenon. The government cant do anything about it accept hope that any of the drilling going on finds billions of barrels in the country. One thing that can be done is reduce the taxes. But then the government has to mop up resources for other schemes. Gas is the cash cow which every government milks to the max.
    Roads in Bangalore were deserted as the govt here is of the BJP. Guess what, Bangalore has the highest sales tax rate on petrol at 25%. Andhra has 4% and Tamil Nadu 12%. The local tax in Bangalore in Rs 14.50 on every liter of petrol. So the BJP lies absolutely exposed in its crocodile tears for common man. The reply from the CM Yediyurappa when asked about it was Petrol is our major source of revenue and we cannot let go of it.
    Also did the NDA government not raise petrol prices during its term? Was it not the NDA govt that started the process of deregulating fuel prices from the APM?
    So when it calls for a bundh, it certainly does not stand any hallowed ground. About the Left, well the lesser said about them the better.

    If anyone calls the bundh a success is only fooling. Roads were deserted because people were afraid to come out and not because they supported the bundh. I was out of town and i got a call from my known people that the BJP is gathering men from all over to come to Bangalore to create a ruckus. I did see some of that on my way to Bangalore as i was driving back. So all those protesters were nothing but those hired for a package of Biryani and Booze that is standard. It was all a sham and the common man had to pay for it.
     
  14. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    To those fall into the "bandh is bad" bandwagon, my question is: "how do you, in this democracy, make the government bring down the prices, which is can very much afford to do so?"

    Forced bandhs are bad. But, what's 1 day of lost business if it means you pay the right prices for food and fuel. Maybe the government is not going to revert to proper prices today, but Chor-Congress' public image definitely suffered a huge dent, and those that are pissed-off with atrocious food and fuel prices vastly outnumber those who face inconvenience with these bandhs.
     
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  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    I don't think this hartali siyasat is helpful either. Look at how people protest in the US/UK e.t.c. There are marches speeches in parks but no one stars going around forcing strikes and damaging people's livelihood. What irks me the most is political parties hired goons enforcing the bandhs. What happened to democratic protests when a person does not have the option defy the bandh if he/she wants?
     
  16. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    Those forms of protests don't make any tangible difference to the policy makers in India. It's not that protests of those forms didn't happen in India with regards to food inflation. Bharat Bandh is a consequence of a government that is totally opaque to public sentiments or opinions.

    Congress is a totally elitist party with a facade of "common-man centric policies". Aam aadmi my arse.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
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  17. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    A protest is a protest only when the common man takes part in it. How many of the common men took part in the bundh or the protests? None. What we saw on TV was all hired. Booze and money doing the trick. What was worse is that the BJP ruled states have all got high tax rates on fuel. Bangaloreans pay 14.5 per liter to the state coffers. Its similar elsewhere too. Fuel price at import level is Rs 16.00. Rest is all tax by both center and state govts. And both dont want to let go of their premier source of revenue.
     
  18. tarunraju

    tarunraju Moderator Moderator

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    Incorrect, common men took part in it. There's no way in hell that the bandh could be "total" in most parts of the country (whether or not a success) without significant public participation.
     
  19. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    LPG cheapest in India, costs over Rs 800 in Lanka

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-over-Rs-800-in-Lanka/articleshow/6132953.cms

    It would be interesting as to how much it is in China and other far east countries.
     
  20. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    This sort of comparison is pointless and misleading. In Afghanistan, the price may be 10 times the price in Sri Lanka. So what? I applaud the Opposition for their Bharat Bandh. Their motivations may have been less than sincere, but fact is, there are millions of poor people in India that cannot afford to pay the market value for petrol. Also, when petrol prices rise, everything becomes more costly including public transit, food, electricity etc. It's the cascading effect of price rises that is most harmful rather than the rise in fuel prices alone.

    This mad, unrestrained dash into an uncontrolled market economy must STOP. The problem with today's societies, especially western societies, is that governments have stopped being representative of their people. They instead represent powerful business lobbies who direct and control government policy regardless of the harm it causes the common man. The sole aim of these business lobbies is profit at all costs, even if it means trampling human rights, defrauding their customers or robbing thousands of their employees of a livelihood. What India needs is not growth at all costs, but inclusive growth, something that this PM parrots again and again, but rarely implements.

    Congress needed to be brought to its senses. They think that they are unstoppable now that they have won twice in a row, but its issues such as these that are dear to the common man that will bring them down in the next elections. I can already see a BJP majority in the next elections.
     
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  21. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Poor man's fuel is still cheap. The rich and the poor don't get affected by these hike. Its the middle class that does and usually takes it in his stride as the income levels too rise. Yes any rise in prices hurt, but to blame the govt for it doesn't make sense as its an International phenomenon. Even if govt does not raise prices indirectly we do by way of subsidies. The debt burden will only rise and our future generations will have a tough time.

    What the protest should be about not the hike in price but the bloody tax which is way too high and absurd. Like I said before that the import price is 16 a liter or something and we pay 59 in bangalore. So tax on gas is 43. That's way above the cost. What needs to be done is have a tax not in terms of a percentage but a fixed value. Say Rs 5 or 10. This will make sure the tax component don't further increase any hike in fuel price. But neither the center or state govt want to let go of extra money it earns from gas. And that includes the BJP govts.

    On a separate note, the BJP will win next time if it does at all, not due to people finding it favorable but due to anti incumbancy factor of 10 years. BJPs role as a responsible opposition has nothing much to write home about.
     

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