Rallying Against Soaring Prices in India

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The senior leader of Indian government's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, has strongly approved of protests against soaring prices. He also says he'll raise the issue in parliament.

The BJP held a massive protest rally against soaring prices in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Many BJP leaders, including the Party Chief and the leaders of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament attended the rally.

[Lai Krishna Advani, BJP Opposition Leader]:
"Such kind of sit-in demonstrations on a massive scale and in an effective way has not taken place in a long time and many people put forth their opinions. Not just outside the Parliament, but we will raise the issue of price rise even inside the Parliament because such a steep rise in essential commodities was never experienced by the common people."

Opposition-driven protests over rising food prices pose a political challenge to the government's plans to hike fuel prices.

The Congress, which won an election last year by a wider-than-expected margin, has political capital to spend.

It could partly lift fuel price controls, leaving out potentially more politically jarring hikes in the prices of cooking fuels, such as kerosene.

A focus on inflation may also distract Congress from pushing reforms such as the liberalization of the agricultural sector that may help cut the fiscal deficit.

Analysts say Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government needs to walk a fine line. It's trying to please farmers, who want higher prices for their produce, and consumers, who want prices to fall.

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