Karnataka Cong members arrive on bullock carts in protest against rising fuel, LPG prices
The senior leadership of the Congress party in Karnataka on Monday travelled on bullock carts till Vidhana Soudha on the first day of the monsoon session as a mark of protest against the price of fuel and gas under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.
Siddaramaiah, the Congress’s leader of the opposition, and state party president DK Shivakumar arrived on bullock carts to the Vidhana Soudha, commuting several kilometres from their respective homes along with other seniors and party workers.
Hundreds joined the protest march with no social distancing or masks at a time when the state stares at another wave of Covid-19 infections.
“Each morning the BJP government is trying to pick the pockets of the people. This is a pickpocket government,” Shivakumar said.
The protest comes at a time when several states and the population, in general, have raised their voices against the increasing prices of all commodities as a result of the increase in petrol and diesel prices that have breached the ₹100 mark.
Shivakumar said that the party demands the petrol and diesel prices be reduced by at least ₹25 while LPG rates should be reduced by ₹150.
The timing of the increase has dealt a heavy blow on individuals and businesses alike who are yet to recover from the repeated blows due to the pandemic-related lockdowns and increasing restrictions on movement.
The BJP government at the Centre and the Basavaraj Bommai-led administration in Karnataka have turned down demands to reduce the prices of fuel and LPG.
“We will raise the issue in the assembly and will also continue our struggle against the government of Karnataka and the government of India as well,” Siddaramaiah said.
The protests kicked off the monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature on Monday, adding to the pressure on the Bommai government which faces several contentious issues, including the caste census row and increasing threats of agitation by dominated and backward communities over reservation-related demands.
B Sriramulu, Karnataka’s transport and Scheduled Tribe Welfare minister, on Monday called the protests by the Congress “gimmicks” done for “free publicity”.
“I will ask the Congress leaders one question. They were in power for 60 years and I want to ask them what did they do?” Sriramulu said in Vidhana Soudha on Monday.
“If you have any concern for India, whichever states that you are in power, will you be able to reduce VAT in these states?” the minister said, posing a challenge to the Congress party.