Maharashtra Congress protests against petrol, diesel prices

Mumbai/Thane: As petrol hovered just below Rs 92 a litre and diesel touched Rs 80.53, the Maharashtra Congress on Monday said the fuels have now become befitting gifts for weddings.

State Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant, along with Thane District Congress chief Manoj Shinde and many others, also performed a solemn “shraddha” of cans of petrol and diesel, and US Dollar on the first day of “Pitrupaksh”.

In Mumbai, city party President Sanjay Nirupam termed the latest fuel price index as a “Black Day” in the state’s history with petrol in 13 cities breaching the Rs 90/litre-mark.

“States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan and others have already reduced taxes on fuel. Why can’t Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis follow suit and reduce people’s misery,” Nirupam said.

He pointed out that the direct consequence is the galloping inflation with prices of FMCGs, fruits and vegetables, oils and electrical items shooting up at the height of the festival season.

Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led governments at the Centre and in Maharashtra, Sawant said with fuel prices zooming to the skies, they have become “appropriate gift articles” for the people to be presented at weddings or other auspicious occasions.

“We have witnessed historic highs of petrol-dollar and unprecedented lows of the US dollar, but despite this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has turned a deaf year to the woes of the people of India,” Sawant said at the symbolic “shraddha”.

The activists chanted the mantra of “Om Petrol Namah, Om Diesel Namah, Om Dollar Namah” at the mock “shraddha” ceremony, videos of which went viral in social media networks later.

“At this rate, under the Modi Government petrol-diesel is racing towards the three-digit mark, and will soon cross Rs 100. But he PM is busy helping his industrialist friends at the cost of the suffering Indian masses and poor farmers,” Sawant said.

A large group of party workers carried placards and posters with anti-government slogans, and they raised full-throated protests after the “shraddha”, flaying the fuel price hikes resulting in inflation of all essential commodities as the festival season of Navratri and Diwali is round the corner.

The protests were provoked after petrol retailed at Rs 91.91 in Parbhani and diesel at Rs 80.53 in Aurangabad, the highest in the country, with no signs of a downward trend.

Other cities like Nanded, Amravati, Ratnagiri and Jalgaon ranked in the Rs 91-plus range, while diesel prices were on the verge of touching Rs 80 in Amravati and Solapur.