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Third Front to corner govt on fuel price
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 22
On April 27, the Left-led grouping of 13 non-Congress, non-BJP parties will move cut motions against the rise in prices of petrol, diesel and fertilizers (announced in the budget) and push for voting on these motions. The latter hasnít happened in seven years.

n 13 parties to move cut motion on price hike on April 27
n Will coincide with the nationwide strike against the hike 
n Front claims support of 88 members of the Lok Sabha

Today, Third Front members ó four Left parties, AIADMK, SP, RJD, TDP, RLD, LJP and AGP ó claimed the support of 88 MPs in the Lok Sabha, with CPM leader Sitaram Yechury hoping the BSP would lend support, as the deadline nears for the guillotine of demands for grants of central ministries on April 27.

On this day, the Front will also move a motion seeking annulment of the Finance Ministryís notification hiking petroleum and diesel prices. Further, they have called a nationwide strike against price rise on April 27, which means some Left MPs could be out of the LS, giving UPA a breather. Currently, the Front doesnít have the numbers to unsettle the government.

Also, itís to be seen if the Speaker allows cut motions, given parliamentary practice of such motions being allowed only against specific demands of specific ministries whose budgets are discussed in the House. They canít be allowed against demands of ministries whose budgets are not discussed. Past precedents tell how.

On May 2, 2000, when the then Speaker was putting outstanding demands for grants of ministries (not discussed) to vote, CPMís Rupchand Pal mentioned he had moved a cut motion against demands for fertilizer ministry, seeking a rollback of subsidy withdrawal. The Speaker declined the motion, as the said ministryís demands were not discussed.

In the ongoing session, only the following ministriesí demands are being discussed: Rural Development Tribal Affairs, Road Transport and Water Resources; Finance Ministry is not among them.

But CPIís Gurudas Dasgupta is confident. He wrote to Speaker Meira Kumar, citing Article 113 of the Constitution, which gives MPs the right to support or oppose a demand for grant of any ministry. 

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