New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI) Attacking the BJP government over the rise in prices of cooking gas, petrol and diesel, the Congress on Tuesday accused it of “looting” Rs 10,000 crore through this “triple assault” on the poor and common people and vowed to raise the issue in Parliament and outside.
Several party leaders including Rahul Gandhi said the “lockdown” on petrol, diesel and gas prices has been lifted and the government will now increase their cost as assembly elections are now over.
The Congress along with other opposition parties also protested in both Houses of Parliament, disrupting proceedings in Rajya Sabha and walking out of Lok Sabha over the issue.
The Congress party in a statement demanded that the rise in petrol, diesel and gas prices be taken back and brought to the level that existed during the UPA rule.
“This shameless loot of people’s money, especially the poor, must come to an end,” the party said.
“The ‘lockdown’ imposed on the prices of gas, diesel and petrol has been lifted. Now the government will continuously increase the prices. If you ask the prime minister about the epidemic of inflation, he will say #ThaliBajao,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Addressing a joint press conference at Vijay Chowk, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Anand Sharma and Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged the government is attempting a triple assault on the common people by increasing the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG.
“The Modi government has once again exposed its anti-people and anti-poor policy. By raising 80 paise on petrol and diesel, the government has taken out Rs 10,000 crore from the pockets of the poor people today,” Kharge told reporters.
He also said that the government is claiming to buy oil from Russia, but it is hardly one percent of India’s total annual requirement.
“If they are increasing prices of oil despite purchasing it from Russia and other sources, it is a loot of people’s money, especially of the poor people.
“This amounts to injustice and we will fight against this,” he said, adding that his party had given a notice under Rule 267 for holding a discussion in Rajya Sabha on the issue of high fuel prices but the “‘government did not allow us to do so”.
Kharge, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the party would continue to raise their voice against the increase in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinder.
Chowdhury, the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, said it was feared that as soon as the results of the elections in five states are out, there will be a huge increase in the price of petrol, diesel, cooking gas, kerosene all over India.
“Today the apprehension we had on this one-sided price hike is turning out true.
“You will notice one thing a little carefully, when the rate of interest on Employees’ Provident Fund is being reduced from 8.6 to 8.1 per cent in our country, then the Modi government does not hesitate to rob the poor of Rs 26 lakh crore out of this price hike,” he said.
“We will stand against this exploitation of the poor both inside the Lok Sabha and outside. No one can stop us in this fight for the common people,” Chowdury said.
Speaking in the same vein, Anand Sharma said it is clear the government was just waiting for the election results to be out to raise the prices.
“If the previous governments could manage without hurting the poor, what justification this government has. They have mismanaged the economy and when they want to raise some resources, it is to loot the poor, to hurt the poor, that is where they are more worried about.
“They can give all tax reliefs to those who do not need, to the rich ones, but this is what the poor get. So, we will continue the protest and raise this voice,” Sharma told reporters.
When the prices of petrol, diesel and gas did not increase during the elections, it can happen even now, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, adding the government should stop this “‘attack on the pockets of the people”.
Petrol and diesel prices were on Tuesday hiked by 80 paise a litre each while domestic cooking gas LPG rates were increased by Rs 50 per cylinder as state oil firms ended an over four-and-half month hiatus in rate revision, fanning inflation fears.
While LPG rates were last revised on October 6, 2021, petrol and diesel prices had been on a freeze since November 4 as five states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, went to the polls.
LPG prices had gone up by close to Rs 100 per cylinder between July and October 6, 2021, triggering criticism. PTI SKC RT RT
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