New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday attacked the ruling BJP-government over the hike in petrol and diesel prices while alleging that the party hiked the fuel prices after keeping the prices of petrol, diesel, gas cylinders, PNG and CNG unchanged for 137 days to secure the votes of people. The main opposition party also announced a three-phased campaign, ‘Mehngai-mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’, against price rise under which it will organise rallies and marches across the country between March 31 and April 7.
“The people of India have been betrayed, duped and deceived by the (Narendra) Modi government. After keeping the prices of petrol, diesel, gas cylinders, piped natural gas (PNG) and CNG unchanged for 137 days to secure the votes of people, the last one week has been a nightmare for every household,” Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told a press conference.
“The Congress president, in consultation with the party general secretaries and state in-charges, has decided to champion the people’s cause in a three-phased programme — Mehngai-Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan,” Surjewala said.
First phase of campaign
On March 31, Congress workers and common people will protest outside their houses and at public places, Surjewala said, adding that people will garland LPG cylinders, beat drums and ring bells to highlight the issue of inflation and seek to draw the attention of the “deaf BJP government against the insurmountable increase in the prices of cooking gas, petrol and diesel.
Second phase of campaign
From April 2 to April 4, the Congress, along with NGOs, religious, social organisations and resident welfare bodies, will organise dharnas and marches at the district level across the country, the party leader said.
Third phase of campaign
On April 7, the Congress will organise “Mehngai-mukt Bharat” dharnas and marches at all state headquarters with the help of social and religious organisations, NGOs and people, Surjewala said.
The decision to launch the campaign was taken at a meeting of Congress general secretaries and state in-charges in New Delhi. The meeting also discussed the membership drive of the party and the current political situation in the country. Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal chaired the meeting at the party headquarters.
Among the prominent leaders of the party who attended the meeting were Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Oomen Chandy, Mukul Wasnik, Tariq Anwar, Surjewala, Ajay Maken and treasurer Pawan Kumar Bansal.
The meeting comes in the wake of the party’s humiliating defeat in the recent assembly polls in five states.
On Saturday, the prices of petrol and diesel increased by 80 paise a litre. Delhi will now be selling petrol at ₹98.61 per litre and diesel at ₹89.87 per litre. In India’s financial capital Mumbai, petrol prices have risen to ₹113.35 per litre, whereas diesel will now cost ₹97.55 per litre. On Tuesday, fuel prices were hiked for the first time in four months. The country also registered a surge on Friday.
Amid criticism, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that fuel prices are surging because of supply chain disruptions due to the Russia-Ukraine war. She said oil marketing companies are procuring crude oil on a 15-day average rate, which is higher because of the Russia-Ukraine war. The “impact of that is on all the countries. Supply chains are disrupted, particularly of crude oil… when India is globally connected in the value chain…” she said.
“Even in 1951, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could say that Korean war can affect Indian inflation. I’ll … I’ll have to say, war anywhere can … affect us. Today in a globally-connected world, it will affect definitely,” the minister added.