'Will protest fuel price hike, won't let Left create rift'

Sticking to her stand of hitting the streets against the rise in fuel prices, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said she would not let the Marxists take advantage from her confrontations with the Congress-led UPA.

'I have always protested whenever the central government has increased the prices of petrol and diesel. I don't support price rise of oil. I will continue to protest against this price rise and will hit the streets. Whenever [the Congress-led central government] increase the oil prices, they don't bother to consult or inform us,' Banerjee said while addressing a rally here.

Banerjee Wednesday had threatened to hit the streets if the central government did not withdraw its decision to hike petrol and diesel prices.

In a fresh stand-off with the central government, Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, called the decision to hike fuel prices as 'unilateral' and said the central government had not cared to consult any of its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partners.

Petrol and diesel prices went up in seven states, including West Bengal, following the readjustments done by the oil companies based on local levies.

However, Banerjee Friday clearly indicated that she won't let the Marxists take advantage of the confrontations she is currently having with the central government.

'If CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) is thinking that it will use my fight against the centre for its own political gains, then I must say they are fools. They are planning to fill my party's place in the union cabinet if I leave the ministry.'

'They should not dream big because we won't let their dreams become reality. We will not step into their trap. We know where the Lakshman Rekha lies. We won't allow them (Marxists) to gain politically,' said Banerjee. She also slammed the CPI-M labour arm CITU for calling a 24-hour transport strike across West Bengal July 31 to protest against the increase in petrol and diesel prices.

'They have lost the power and now they are only resorting to bandhs and shutdowns to stop the developmental process of the state,' said Banerjee.

She also accused a section of Marxist leaders of engaging in black marketing of grains and vegetables to harass the state government.
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