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Govt's response on fuel prices an electoral drama: Congress

twitter-logoPTI | October 15, 2018 | Updated 20:57 IST

New Delhi, Oct 15 (PTI) Attacking the Modi government over rising petrol and diesel prices, the Congress on Monday alleged that its response on the issue was only a "drama" which it resorted to ahead of every election, while remaining indifferent to people's plight otherwise. Congress spokesperson R P N Singh alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not bothered about rising fuel prices for the past over a year and is now holding meetings with heads of oil companies when assembly elections to five states are nearing. The party also reiterated its demand of bringing petrol and diesel prices under the GST. He said while global crude oil prices dropped by USD five per barrel in the last nine days, the prices of petrol and diesel have been on the rise in the country and the benefit of Rs 1.50 per litre price reduction has come to a nought. "Whenever there are elections Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts expressing his concern over rising prices of petrol and diesel, for the rest of the time his indifferent, apathetic and anti-people government just indulges in puncturing gaping holes in the budget of common people. This is nothing but electoral drama," he told reporters. He cited oil price reduction ahead of Gujarat elections and a cap on rise in oil prices for 15 days ahead of Karnataka assembly elections. Now again, there has been a minor price cut in petrol and diesel prices when assembly polls to five states are nearing, he said. Singh said petrol and diesel are not a luxury, but a necessity and have become unaffordable, with farmers and common people being hit the most. Prices of essential commodities are impacting all sections of the society- middle class, poor, women, commuters, he said. "Facing public ire and imminent defeat in the five election-going states, Modi Government is indulging in event management and news plants. Instead of putting a soothing balm on the wounds of the common people, Modi Government is only indulging in electoral drama," he alleged. Referring to the prime minister's meeting with 40 global and domestic oil company chiefs to discuss soaring prices of petrol and diesel, the Congress leader said these meetings only appear in news during election period, but for the rest of the time the Modi government keeps burdening the common man with "draconian" central taxes on fuel. Singh said ever since the Rs 1.50 per litre reduction in fuel prices, petrol prices have risen by Rs 1.22 and is now selling at Rs 82.72/litre while diesel prices have risen by a whopping Rs 2.51 per litre and is now selling at Rs 75.46 per litre. "After inflicting a thousand wounds, the Modi government applied a token 'band aid' for just 10 days and that 'band aidí is also being ripped off. Fleecing and cheating people is the prime policy of Modi government," he alleged. The Congress leader alleged that since the past 53 months, the Prime Minister was virtually silent on the spiralling prices of petrol and diesel, but "suddenly this fake desire of reviewing the 'prices, oil production, US sanctions and global factors' has sprung up in the past one month or so". "This trickery, deception and diversion during election times need to be thoroughly exposed," he said. Drawing a comparison with oil prices during the UPA, the former union minister said on May 16, 2014 when the NDA government took over crude oil was 107.09 USD per barrel while petrol was Rs 71.41 per litre and diesel was at Rs 55.49 per litre. However, now when crude oil prices are 86 USD per barrel, petrol is at Rs 82.72 and diesel at Rs 75.46 per litre. Singh alleged that since May 2014, Modi government has "fleeced" the common people by "draconian" taxation of Rs 13 lakh crore and this "fuel loot" should end. PTI SKC RT

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