The Congress on Monday slammed the central government over the continuous increase in prices of petrol and diesel, with party chief Sonia Gandhi saying the government was indulging in extortion. She demanded immediate rollback of the hike in fuel prices and excise duty to take them back to pre-lockdown levels.
The Congress held protests across the country against the fuel price hike and increase in excise duty and waged a campaign on social media.
Congress’s social media department head Rohan Gupta said the “speak up against fuel hike” social media campaign elicited good response, with more than 2.5 lakh tweets and a reach of more than 16 crore people.
Sonia, in a video message, said the government has since the imposition of the nationwide lockdown on March 25 increased the prices of petrol and diesel 22 times. While the price of diesel has gone up Rs 11 per litre, petrol has increased by Rs 9.12 per litre, she said. She said the Modi government is planning to collect lakhs of crores by raising excise duty.
“And all is happening at a time when international crude oil prices are continuously falling,” she said, and when people are facing hardship because of the pandemic and the lockdown.
Since 2014, Sonia said, the government has instead of transferring the benefit of fall in international crude prices increased excise duty on fuel 12 times, helping it collect additional revenue of nearly Rs 18 lakh crore.
“This is yet another example of filling the coffers with the hard-earned money of the people,” she said, adding it is the duty of the government to support citizens in difficult times and not take advantage of their plight and profiteer.
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