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Friday, July 30, 2021

As fuel prices surge, BJP leaders have bizarre justifications, advice; take a look

In many states, the petrol prices have already crossed Rs 100/litre and in many states, they are inching closer to that mark.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 30, 2021 3:09:02 pm
petrol price today, diesel price today, petrol diesel priceA worker fills petrol for two wheelers at a fuel station in Ahmedabad. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The fuel prices in the country have been on the upward trend ever since the declaration of Assembly election results in five states on May 2, 2021. In many states, the petrol prices have already crossed Rs 100/litre and in many states, they are inching closer to that mark. As the fuel prices are soaring high, many BJP leaders have trotted out bizarre justifications and outrageous statements regarding it.

The latest addition to the list being Madhya Pradesh Energy Minister Pradhuman Singh Tomar who advised people to cycle to go to the vegetable market as it will keep them healthy and end pollution. Talking to media on Tuesday, Tomar asked, “Who uses petrol and diesel? Do we go to the vegetable market by cycle? It will keep us healthy and will end pollution. Is petrol and diesel necessary for our health?”

Revealing that he uses a bicycle, Tomar further said that the money was “not going to any leader’s house but to the poor people in the country”. Free ration is being given to people till Diwali, he added.

This is not the first time, BJP politicians have made such remarks.

‘People will get used to it (price hike)’

Earlier in February this year, BJP leader and Bihar minister Narayan Prasad said that ordinary people will not be affected by the fuel price hike since they use public transport.

“Common people mostly use buses. Only a few use private transportation,” Prasad said adding that only politicians were raising a hue about the surge. He further went on to say that “people will get used to it”.

‘Rahul Gandhi must answer’

A few days ago, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that though high fuel prices were a problem, government expenses were up due to Covid relief measures, and “the Centre is saving money to spend on welfare schemes”.

He also said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi must answer why fuel prices are high in Congress-ruled states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. “If he is so concerned about the poor, he should instruct the Maharashtra CM to reduce taxes, as fuel prices are very high in Mumbai.” Pradhan, however, refrained from commenting on whether BJP-ruled states, like Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, where petrol has crossed the Rs-100 mark, would do the same.

Previously, he had attacked the former UPA government for “mismanagement” of the oil economy between 2010 and 2014 that had left for the present government repayments of oil bonds issued to oil companies for subsidising fuel.

‘Start using electric vehicles’

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in February, remarked that even though everyone would like if the fuel prices do not rise, but for now the prices are rising. He also said that it is his choice to use an electric vehicle as it does not have a harmful impact on the environment. “However, petrol or diesel vehicles do have some kind of an impact,” he added.

Supporting his remarks, senior BJP leader RK Sinha, further advised people to gradually reduce the use of fossil fuels and start using electric vehicles only.

‘Overall, there has been a decrease in the prices’

In March 2020, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, made an outlandish statement regarding the fuel price hike. Speaking to reporters in Kerala, he said, “In international market, the price of petrol has gone down and a part of it has gone up in here. There is no need for logic in this. When the price goes down in the international market, a part of it goes up here. Though there is a little increase, overall there has been a decrease in the prices. Also, no one is taking the money home”.

Meanwhile, after a record new record high on Tuesday, the fuel prices remain unchanged today. With the 32nd increase in less than two months, the price of petrol in Delhi stands at Rs 98.81 per litre while that of diesel is at Rs 89.18. In Mumbai, petrol currently costs Rs 104.90, while diesel is retailing at Rs 96.72, data available on Indian Oil Corporation’s website showed.

In the month of June, the auto fuel prices were hiked on 16 occasions. This follows the 16 hikes in the month of May after the oil marketing companies (OMCs) resumed their price revisions ending an 18-day hiatus that coincided with the assembly elections in five states. During the past two months, petrol price has increased by Rs 8.41 per litre and diesel has climbed by Rs 8.45 in New Delhi.

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