New Delhi: Thirteen opposition parties on Monday called for a nationwide strike on 27 April to protest the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s “failure” to control rising prices.
The parties, none of which is allied to the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), at a meeting on Monday also decided to bring a “cut” motion against the government demanding that increases in the price of petroleum products and fertilizer be rolled back.
A cut motion puts to test the strength of the government in the Lok Sabha. If the motion is adopted, it amounts to a defeat of the government on a money matter and it has to resign.
“We have decided to expose the government on the issue of price rise among the masses and on the floor of the House by bringing the cut motion,” Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh said after the meeting.
The 13 parties that attended Monday’s meeting account for a combined 87 seats in the 545-member Lok Sabha. The BJP, which has 116 seats, has announced support for any move against the government on the issue of rising prices.
The parties are the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Indian National Lok Dal, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the RLD, the Janata Dal (Secular), the Biju Janata Dal, the Lok Janshakti Party and the Telugu Desam Party. The Bahujan Samajwadi Party, which has 21 Lok Sabha seats, stayed away from the meeting, saying that it will take an “appropriate decision” later.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said the party and the UPA are prepared to face the cut motion. “It is not a matter of concern for us.”
Liz Mathew contributed to this story.