Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday described as "shocking and scandalous" the decision of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to decontrol diesel prices.
In a statement here, he said the decision would not only unleash uncontrollable inflationary forces resulting in an all-round and back-breaking hike in prices of all essential commodities, but it also smacked of a massive scam.
The chief minister demanded an immediate withdrawal of the decision.
"The decision brings back memories of the scam-tainted manner in which almost all the major policy decisions of the UPA government had been taken in the past.
"This one could turn out to be the worst, considering the magnitude of its implication, both for the economy as well as for the beleaguered 'aam admi'," Badal said.
He said the hike in the prices of diesel as a result of deregulation would seriously retard the already slack pace of economic growth.
"Diesel prices in India are out of sync with the paying capacity of the common man and the new decision will send inflation, already touching double-digit, spiraling out of control.
"The impact on transport sector will mean an escalation in transit costs and, therefore, a steep jump in overall price-index," he said.