The Congress on Thursday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government for a ‘meagre reduction’ in the prices of petrol and diesel.
In a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that it was a panic reaction by the government after facing the anger of public and in the view of an “imminent defeat” for the BJP in upcoming assembly elections in five states. He further said that the step will bring little relief to the people as it is like “reducing death sentence to life imprisonment”.
Randeep Surjewala also alleged that current BJP government in Centre and states have looted Rs. 13-lakh-crore of the country by the imposition of heavy excise duty on petrol and diesel. He said that the country cannot be fooled anymore by the government and demanded answers from PM Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“Facing public ire and imminent defeat in the five election going states, Modi Government attempted to apply ‘band-aid’ on the thousand wounds inflicted by it by massive profiteering in the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene oil, cooking gas, CNG, PNG and natural gas,” Randeep Surjewala said.
He further said that it is a panic reaction against the people’s anger, adding, “Let Prime Minister Modi remember that he cannot befool the people of India. We challenge the PM and FM to answer to people.”
The Congress, in the press conference, also demanded that the fuel prices be brought to the 2014 level and that petrol and diesel be brought under the GST regime.
Surjewala said, “Since May 2014, Modi Government has fleeced and duped the common people by draconian taxation of Rs. 13 lakh crore. “While FM Jaitley ‘lies’ again by saying that the increase in government revenue is on account of increase in tax base, he hides the Rs. 13 lakh crore ‘fuel loot’ completely, which is fuelling the coffers of Modi Government,” he said.
Randeep Surjewala further asked PM Modi-led centre why the “fuel robbery continued when the prices of crude oil reduced by 45 percent internationally”.
He said on May 16, 2014, the price of crude oil was $107.09 per barrel and the present price of international crude is $86 per barrel, with the average crude price during 52 months of Modi government being $58 per barrel, nearly 45 percent less than the UPA tenure. “Still, the petrol and diesel prices continue to skyrocket at much higher levels during Modi government,” Surjewala added.
The Congress leader also questioned why the government was selling petrol and diesel “cheaper” to 29 countries including England, Australia, America, Malaysia, Israel and others.
Congress put forth the allegations hours after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the reduction in prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2.50 per litre, followed by several BJP states reduction in the price of fuel.
The prices of petrol which have crossed the mark of Rs 90 earlier is being today sold at Rs 86.97 per litre today in India’s financial capital Mumbai. While the prices of diesel which have crossed Rs 80 mark earlier is being sold today at the Rs 77.45 per litre.
On the other side, in Delhi, the petrol is being today sold at Rs 81.50 per litre whereas, the diesel is being sold at Rs 72.95 per litre. Delhi has the cheapest fuel rates among all metros and most state capitals because of lower taxes.