The Congress party on Friday staged a nationwide symbolic protest in front of petrol pumps across the country against the rising fuel prices that have crossed the Rs. 100-mark in several cities. The six-hour protest demanding the withdrawal of the hike in fuel prices began at 7 am.
Congress alleged that while people are losing their livelihoods and struggling with their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, the unreasonable rise in prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas has led to a rise in the price of essential commodities, burdening the people heavily.
Leading protest in Delhi, Congress leaders KC Venugopal demanded immediate roll back of excessive duty on petrol.
“When UPA was in power, tax on petrol & diesel was Rs 9.20. Now it is Rs 32. We demand complete rollback of excise duty hike on petrol-diesel. Fuel should come under the purview of GST,” Venugopal said.
In a statement issued earlier, Congress leader KC Venugopal emphasised that the protests will focus on the economic woes faced by the common man including the skyrocketing fuel and cooking gas prices, the rising unemployment and rising prices of all essential commodities.
“On one hand they could not get medicines and health facilities at the right time, on the other, they have been suffering because of the failing economy and widespread unemployment,” Venugopal said.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi also blamed the government over the rising fuel prices saying that at a time when the common man is grappling with an economic crisis, the government was profiteering through taxation on petroleum and diesel.
“When the country was facing a disaster, people were grappling with an economic crisis, then the government earned Rs 2.5 lakh crore through taxation on petrol and diesel,” Priyanka Gandhi said in a Facebook post.
Meanwhile, petrol price in the financial capital of Mumbai breached the Rs. 102-mark (per litre) on Friday after a fresh hike in the fuel prices across the country. In Kolkata, petrol is at Rs. 95.80 and diesel at Rs 89.60. In the southern city of Chennai, petrol is at Rs. 97.19 and diesel at Rs. 91.42. Petrol is sold at Rs. 97.6 at Kochi. Price went up to Rs. 99.05 a litre pump price of petrol in Bengaluru, making the city the second metro that is about to touch the Rs. 100.
Besides Delhi, several congess workers took to streets to protest at several locations including Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Kochi among other places.
“The BJP government at the Centre and in the state have betrayed the common man by increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel almost every other day,” Congress leader in Karnataka Siddaramaiah told media prior to the protest. Congress in Karnataka will hold a five-day protest against fuel price hike under the ‘100 Not Out’ campaign.
“The BJP had promised to provide petrol at Rs 35 in 2014 when it came to power. It had circulated its slogan ‘ Achhe Din Aageya’. Now, Petrol is being sold at Rs 100. Is it Aachhe Din?, senior Congress leader Sarat Patnaik asked while addressing the workers in Bhubaneswar.