Reduce prices or quit: Congress to PM on high fuel rates

New Delhi: As petrol price crossed the Rs 100-mark in Delhi, the Congress on Wednesday hit out at the government accusing it of “tax extortion” and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to either bring down inflation or quit.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi charged that the Modi government runs on “tax extortion”.

Petrol prices crossed the Rs 100-a-litre mark after fuel prices were increased in line with international oil trends.

“Your car may run on petrol or diesel, Modi government runs on tax extortion,” Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, using hashtag ‘TaxExtortion’.

Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said petrol has crossed the century-mark in 200 cities across the country, including the national capital, and accused the government of being insensitive towards the plight of people during the pandemic.

“The Congress party would be organising cycle marches and protests and demonstrations across the country as part of its campaign from July 7 to 17 to highlight the rising fuel prices and high inflation at every block and city.

“Our only slogan is PM Modi should either bring down prices or quit and vacate his chair,” he told reporters.

Surjewala said while the international crude oil price is continuously decreasing, the price of petrol and diesel kept rising in the country due to heavy taxes imposed by the Modi government.

He termed the government as “most insensitive” in independent India and alleged that when looters sit in power, the incomes of people reduces and the days become expensive.

The Congress leader said the “Modi government is just enjoying the fruits of power and the income of 140 crore Indians is being looted”.

“The promise was of minimum government, maximum governance, but just the opposite has happened – maximum government and zero governance. Today the price of petrol has crossed Rs 100, cooking oil crossed Rs 200 and cooking gas LPG crossed Rs 850, such is the shameless Modi government.

“The BJP government at the Centre has changed the very definition of democracy. By throwing the public in the fire of inflation, the Modi government is squeezing the income of even the person standing in the last row and is only thinking about their wealthy friends,” he alleged.

Surjewala said today in about 200 cities of the country including Delhi, petrol has crossed Rs 100 a litre-mark and diesel has touched Rs 90 per litre, after the Modi government increased the prices of petrol and diesel 69 times between January 1, 2021 to July 7, 2021.

He said by increasing the excise duty of petrol and diesel from April, 2014 to June, 2021, the Modi government has earned Rs 25 lakh crore rupees. It has increased the excise duty on petrol by 258 per cent and on diesel by 820 per cent in seven years, he claimed.

He also alleged that when people were without oxygen and their family members were dying, when people were looking for hospital beds, “Modi ji was increasing the excise duty of petrol and diesel”.

“In the coronavirus period alone, Modi ji has increased the excise duty on petrol by Rs 13 per litre and on diesel by Rs 16 per litre,” he said, adding that in the last two months, the price of petrol has been increased by 9 rupees 81 paise per litre and that of diesel by Rs 8.80 per litre.

The Delhi Congress held a demonstration near the residence of Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan carrying placards and raising slogans, after the price of petrol crossed an all-time high of Rs 100 per litre in the national capital.

Petrol price was increased by 35 paise per litre, while diesel rates were increased by 17 paise a litre, according to a price notification from state-owned fuel retailers.

In Delhi, the price of petrol rose to Rs 100.21 per litre and diesel rates increased to Rs 89.53 a litre.

The national capital is the last of the metro cities to see petrol rising above the Rs 100-a-litre mark. Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Pune already have prices above that mark.