The Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) on Wednesday condemned the latest hike in petrol and diesel prices, saying it would worsen the ongoing agrarian crisis. “The politburo of CPI-M strongly condemns the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel once again in a span of a fortnight,” the party said in a statement. The government hiked petrol price by Rs 2.58 a litre and of diesel by Rs 2.26 a litre with effect from Wednesday. “At a time when the agrarian distress is deepening, this huge hike in price of diesel is bound to worsen the crisis. Diesel is the staple fuel used for drawing ground water from tubewells,” the CPI-M statement said. “When major parts of the country are reeling under the impact of a drought and lack of drinking water, this hike will only worsen people's livelihood, threatening their existence,” it added. The CPI-M said that the increased burden on the people is “being imposed” at a time when “this BJP government has indulged in an extravagant celebration” of its two years of existence. “While the oil companies pay Rs 25.31 per litre of petrol, people pay Rs 65.60 (in Delhi) for the same. This is unacceptable. The government cannot finance itself by burdening the people while continuing to give tax concessions to the rich,” the CPI-M politburo observed. This is the 19th such hike in diesel prices and 16th such hike in petrol prices ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.