Fuel price hike: Cong gives Bharat Bandh call on Sept 10

New Delhi: Calling the steep rise in diesel and petrol prices as ‘fuel loot,’ the Congress on Thursday called for a ‘Bharat bandh’ on September 10, saying it was in touch with other parties for their support.

The party again demanded that petrol and diesel be brought under Goods and Services Tax (GST). The government had earlier rejected the demand saying most states were opposed to it.

“Many promises were made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before coming to power in 2014, but none were kept. When questions were raised by Congress President Rahul Gandhi about the Rafale fighter deal and Amit Shah’s son, those too went unanswered,” Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said at a press conference in the Capital.

“The mismanagement of economy has led to high prices. When fuel prices were rising during the UPA regime, taxes were reduced to take the burden off the people. But due to the mismanagement by the current government, the prices of petrol, diesel and gas cylinders have gone up steeply,” he said.

“We decided for the Bharat Bandh call today after a meeting of all party general secretaries and the state leaders,” he said, adding the party was in touch with other opposition parties for their support. Later his party colleague Randeep Singh Surjewala said the fuel loot has resulted in the Modi government profiting Rs 11 lakh crore.

In May 2014, he said, excise duty on petrol was Rs 9 per litre while today it is Rs19 per litre. “Similarly the excise duty on diesel in 2014 was Rs 3 and today it is around Rs 15 today.”

“An RTI reply has revealed that the Modi government is selling diesel for Rs 34 per litre and petrol for Rs 37 per litre to other countries whereas in India the price is high,” he alleged.

“Rahul Gandhi had demanded to bring petrol and diesel under GST as this alone will give a relief to common people by Rs 10-15 per litre,” he said.

FM rules out cut in excise duty on petrol, diesel

Finance minister Arun Jaitley remained non-committal on cutting excise duty to cushion spiralling petrol and diesel prices, which touched an all-time high, saying international oil prices are volatile and have not shown any linear movement. India, he said, is a net buyer of oil and is adversely impacted when rates go up temporarily. He termed such movement as an external factor.

‘Centre running tax-terrorism’

LoP in J’khand Assembly and JMM’s acting president Hemant Soren alleged that the central government was running ‘tax terrorism’ over the issue of cost of petroleum prices. He said the burden of this hike in petroleum prices was not on the rich and affluent but the poor, farmers, workers and youth. Congress workers will protest at petrol stations across the nation between 10 am to 3 pm on Monday.

Congress seeks Oppn support 

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the party was in touch with other Opposition parties for their support.

The Congress party has decided that we will be giving a call for Bharat Bandh on September 10, Monday, in order to highlight the Rs11 lakh crore fuel loot and to demand an immediate reduction in central excise duty as also excessive VAT in the state” Randeep Singh Surjewala