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Monday, April 19, 2021

Fuel price hike: Siddaramaiah accuses Modi-led Central govt of ‘looting’ common man

The Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly remarked that the hike in fuel prices has affected the purchasing power of citizens.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 19, 2021 6:45:05 pm
The prices of petrol and diesel were unchanged for the 20th consecutive day across the country on Friday. (File)

With criticism growing against the Centre due to the recent hike in fuel prices, former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Friday accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of “looting” the common man.

The Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly remarked that the hike in fuel prices has affected the purchasing power of citizens. “The Narendra Modi government has broken the spine of the common man by increasing the taxes on petrol/diesel. Excise duty currently levied on petrol is Rs 32.98 and Rs 31.83 on each litre of petrol and diesel respectively. At the end of UPA-II, excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.21 and Rs 3.45 per litre, respectively,” he stated.

Later, in a series of tweets, the senior Congress leader said petrol prices should have dropped with the dip in crude oil price but prices rose multiple times instead. “In 2014, crude oil price per barrel in the international market was Rs 6,794 but now it is just Rs 4,008. Who is responsible for this?” he tweeted.

Further, he compared the import-export statistics of crude oil in the country. “In 2013-14, India was importing 184 million ton of crude oil. In 2019-20, the import of crude oil has increased to 228 million ton. Instead of blaming the previous govts, @narendramodi should introspect the efforts of @BJP4India govt in reducing imports,” Siddaramaiah added.

Supporting his argument, he said that petrol was sold at Rs 57 per lire when crude oil was priced at $125 a barrel during the second regime of the Congress-led UPA in the Centre. “Now under @narendramodi, the petrol price is Rs 94 per litre when the crude oil is just around $55 dollar a barrel. What is wrong if we say that the govt is looting common man?” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, prices of petrol and diesel were unchanged for the 20th consecutive day across the country on Friday. While petrol costs Rs 94.22 per litre in Bengaluru, diesel is available for Rs 86.37 per litre.

At the same time, the Karnataka State Committee of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) held a protest against the “unprecedented” fuel hike, “pro-corporate” policies of state/central governments, and the Centre’s privatisation policy. A march was held from City Railway Station to Freedom Park on Friday.

“Even before the people of the country recovered from the painful effects of lockdown and the pandemic, people have been further jolted by the unprecedented price rise of all essential commodities and severe loss of income. The BJP-led central government has failed to control price rise in the country,” K Uma, State Secretary of SUCI (C) Karnataka State said.

Citing the hike of LPG price from Rs 600 to Rs 825 in the past three months, she highlighted that poor people were bearing the brunt of inflation that followed the same. “Post-lockdown, workers, peasants and the middle class have lost income. The government continues to say they don’t have funds to aid them, but the same government has written off corporate loans nearly worth Rs 2 lakh crore,” she said.

Further, criticising the Centre’s move to privatise public sector banks and other industries, Uma added, “Such sectors that provided employment to lakhs of people are being sold to corporate houses. Even Railways, the transport backbone of the poor, is gradually being privatised, which would result in severe unemployment and economic crisis.”

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