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Congress’s Bharat Bandh protesting fuel price hike gets DMK, JDS support

DMK president M K Stalin in a statement conveyed his party’s “whole-hearted support” and said the party would “enthusiastically take part and cooperate to make the shutdown a complete success”.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2018 17:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bharat Bandh,Fuel prices,Fuel price protest
An employee fills a vehicle with fuel at a filling station, in New Delhi, on Monday.(PTI Photo)

The Congress which claimed that it has the support of the RJD,NCP, JD(S), JVM and JMM for its Bharat bandh on September 10 to protest rising fuel prices, got a shot in the arm on Friday with the DMK announcing that it would also back the shutdown.

DMK president M K Stalin in a statement conveyed his party’s “whole-hearted support” and said the party would “enthusiastically take part and cooperate to make the shutdown a complete success”.

The DMK chief urged all sections of people, including government employees, teachers, traders and state transport corporation workers, to voluntarily support the bandh to “teach the BJP government a fitting lesson”.

It was a matter of concern and anguish that fuel prices were rising fast to touch the Rs 100 per litre mark, he said in a statement, adding that even when crude prices fell, the Centre had not passed on the benefit to the people.

Accusing the BJP government of not being bothered about the public or their purchasing power, he alleged that the Centre did not take any steps to rein in the “dangerous and unprecedented” fuel price rise and stop the slide of the rupee against the dollar.

Stalin accused Oil Marketing Companies of freezing fuel prices only during elections in states favourable to the BJP and increasing it after the polls are over.

Opposition leader Sharad Yadav on Thursday backed the shutdown saying the country was in “great distress” as the Narendra Modi government had failed in discharging its duties and fulfilling its promises to the people.

“The people of the country are living in great distress and pain under the present rule. The most painful part is that incidents of atrocity are happening against Dalits, tribals and other backward classes,” he added.

Violence against minorities in the name of cow protection had become a daily affair, Yadav alleged, while adding that the farmers’ livelihood through livestock had also been badly affected.

“The government has failed on all accounts and its failures are innumerable,” he said.

At a press conference in the national capital on Thursday, Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot, Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Mallikarjun Kharge and Randeep Singh Surjewala said the common man was bearing the brunt of escalating prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas as well as of other essential commodities.

“The Congress party has decided to call for Bharat Bandh on September 10, Monday, in order to highlight the Rs 11 lakh crore fuel loot, to demand that there should be immediate reduction in central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states, and that petrol and diesel be brought within GST so that the common man whose budget has gone haywire, they are provided the requisite relief,” Surjewala said.

“Modi Ji has collected Rs 11 lakh crore in taxes... And has consequently fleeced the common person of this country. Excise duty on petrol since May 2014 has been increased by 211%. Excise duty on diesel since May 2014 has been increased by 443%.” Surjewala said.

He said bringing petrol and diesel under the GST will reduce their prices by Rs 10-15 a litre

Congress leaders had asked other opposition parties and civil society groups to join the shutdown against the central government.

Patel said Congress leaders have talked to the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and others, who have extended their support to the Congress on the issue.

He said the Trinamool Congress has agreed to support but won’t give a call for bandh as they are in government.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 17:35 IST