Mamata Banerjee rides electric scooter to protest against rising fuel prices
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged people across India to protest against hike in fuel prices, as she reached her office riding pillion on an electric scooter.
“This (hike in fuel prices) is a very alarming situation. TMC has started a movement which would be extended across the state from Friday. I would urge everyone to hit the streets across the country,” she told media while sitting on an electric scooter outside the state secretariat.
Minister Firhad Hakim rode the scooter, ferrying the chief minister from her residence in south Kolkata to the secretariat in Howrah. Both the leaders had a poster on fuel price hike hanging around their neck.
“This is our protest against hike prices of petrol, diesel and LPG. There was a hike in LPG prices even last night and a cylinder now costs at least ₹800. Kerosene is unavailable the market. In Bengal, around ten million people depend on kerosene for cooking. The kitchen is the worst hit every time there is a hike in fuel prices,” she added.
“Most of the people in our country work in the unorganised sector. They need at least two cylinders every month. If two cylinders cost them ₹1,600, what would they do? Even farmers, who run their tractors on diesel, are not being spared. Labourers are not being spared,” she said.
She said she would use the electric scooter for her ride back home as well.
The BJP sought to make light of the chief minister’s protest. “This is a unique ploy by Mamata Banerjee. The Centre has said that if petrol and diesel are brought under the purview of GST, fuel prices may drop by ₹10 to ₹15 in one go. State finance minister is the chairman of the GST council. Instead of riding a scooter, she should ask him to call a meeting of GST council and states, and take steps towards bring fuel under GST purview,” said Jay Prakash Majumdar, BJP state vice-president.