20 parties to join Congress in ‘Bharat Bandh’

New Delhi: Scores of leaders belonging to 21 political parties will take part in ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by the Congress party on September 10 against the fuel price hike, and decline in rupee value against the United States dollar.
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), among others, have extended support to the nationwide shutdown.

“Congress party has called for a nationwide ‘Bharat bandh’ against the continuous rise in petrol and diesel prices and the drop in rupee’s value against US dollar. The ‘bandh’ will be violence-free. We request all the businessmen to support us in this,” Congress leader Ajay Maken said at a press conference on Sunday.

“In last four years, excise duty has increased by 211.7 percent on petrol and 443 percent on diesel. In May 2014, excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.2, while now it is Rs 19.48. Similarly, on diesel excise duty was Rs 3.46 in May 2014, however, it is now Rs 15.33,” he added.

The Congress leader also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the decline in the rupee value and said, “The value of rupee is below 72 now. Earlier when rupee value used to cross 60, then Prime Minister Modi used to say that rupee is in ICU. What will he say now?”

Maken said that the Congress party’s demand is to “bring petrol and diesel under GST.”

Further demanding the government to bring petrol and diesel under Good and Services Tax (GST) ambit and said, “If this happens, then there will be a drop of Rs 15-18 in the prices of petrol and diesel. Not just that, there will be a decline in price of other things also.”

Petrol and diesel prices have been witnessing a hike in several states across the country over the past few weeks. The Indian rupee is also facing a decline in its value against the US dollar.

Earlier, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan blamed international factors for the hike in fuel price and said that one major reason for the rise in petrol and diesel prices is the depreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar.