New Delhi, May 30 (PTI) Opposition parties today attacked the Centre over the 1 paisa cut in fuel prices by state-owned oil companies, with the Congress saying if this was Prime Minister Narendra Modis idea of a "prank", it was "childish and in poor taste".
While the CPI(M) demanded a roll back in prices of petrol and diesel, the CPI alleged that the government had given absolute autonomy to the oil companies to decide on a key issue which affected the lives of the people.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter saying the one paisa cut in petroleum rates was not a "suitable response" to the fuel challenge he threw to the prime minister a few days ago.
"Dear PM, Youve cut the price of Petrol and Diesel today by 1 paisa. ONE paisa!?? If this is your idea of a prank, its childish and in poor taste," he said.
"P.S. A ONE paisa cut is not a suitable response to the Fuel Challenge I threw you last week," Gandhi said.
Condemning the reduction of fuel prices by just 1 paisa per litre after 16 days of relentless price hike, the Congress said in Mumbai that it would launch a social media campaign on June 2 to express its anguish.
In Kolkata, the party questioned the TMCs protest against the current fuel prices and asked it to reduce state-level taxes if it was "really serious" about the issue.
The TMC had held protests in the city against the fuel price hike yesterday. The party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had in a recent tweet expressed concern over the spiralling prices of petrol and diesel.
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said petrol and diesel prices in the state would be slashed by Rs 1 per litre from June 1.
Suggesting that Modi should follow Keralas example and reduce the duties on fuel, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged that while the Centre was giving Rs 3 lakh crore of relief for big unpaid loans of corporates, it had just given 1 paise relief for the common Indian.
"No BJP-ruled state has done this so far. Modi should follow the Kerala example and reduce the duties on fuel to at least pre-2014 levels. The nine increases in excise duty must be rolled back immediately," he tweeted.
Seeking a roll back of the fuel rates, Yechury said, "In states like West Bengal too, CMs approach to peoples misery is exactly what Modi at the Centres is: Callous disregard for their agony."
CPI leader D Raja told PTI, "What are the government and oil companies doing? It is doing nothing but mocking the unprecedented miseries and hardships of the common people. It shows the governments complete insensitivity and failure to stop the fuel price hike."
The Left party also asked the people to protest against such anti-people policies of the government.
West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Chowdhury said in Kolkata that the ruling TMC, which was protesting, should reduce VAT and other state-level taxes on fuel to bring down prices.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam told PTI that as part of an online campaign, "Tweet Morcha", the opposition would mobilise people to post tweets to Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the issue and suggest ways to reduce fuel prices.
In Chandigarh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh described the one paisa cut in fuel prices a "cruel joke" on the people.
The marginal decline in fuel prices had its share of excitement with state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) first announcing a reduction of 60 paise -- the biggest since daily price revision was introduced in mid-June last year, only to retract it within a couple of hours citing a technical error. PTI TEAM SC SC