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Fuel price hike: Punjab Congress to hold protest on May 31

The Punjab Congress would be part of the nationwide protest to be launched by Rahul Gandhi on May 31, state party chief and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar said while addressing a press conference here on Monday.

punjab Updated: May 29, 2018 13:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Fuel price hike,Punjab Congress,Congress protest
Sunil Jakhar (HT File )

The Congress plans to hit the streets against the “failure” of the Narendra Modi government to check high fuel prices.

The Punjab Congress would be part of the nationwide protest to be launched by Rahul Gandhi on May 31, state party chief and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar said while addressing a press conference here on Monday.

Citing comparative data, he said the prices of diesel and petrol were much lower during the UPA regime despite higher crude oil prices. “On May 31, 2012, the international price of crude oil was USD 104.09 per barrel while diesel and petrol in India was being sold at Rs 40.91 and Rs 73.18 per litre. On May 25, 2018, the rate of crude oil has fallen sharply to USD 67.50 per barrel but diesel and petrol were being sold at Rs 69.09 and Rs 78.12 per litre. It clearly shows the Modi government is busy filling coffers of big business houses,” he said.

Flanked by cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu, he demanded a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal for paddy saying the diesel prices had escalated the cost by Rs 100 to Rs 125 per acre. “Increase in price of diesel and petrol has hit everyone as prices of essential commodities have spiralled out of control,” he said.

When asked if the Punjab government would reduce tax on petrol and diesel to bring down prices, he said revenue from VAT on fuel is the main source of income for the state. “But if the Centre does not take measures to bring down the prices, we will be ready forgo our revenue,” he said. He also hit out at the SAD-BJP combine, saying they left the state with a huge burden and have also failed to plead the state’s case as an ally at the Centre. He challenged Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to resign from her ministerial berth in protest against the GST on “langar”.

Showing video clips of the “Bharat Bandh” and “Jail Bharo” protests organised by the BJP across the nation on May 31, 2012, against the petrol/diesel price hike, Jakhar said top BJP leaders, including Modi and his ministers, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani and Ravi Shankar Prasad had raised a lot of “hue and cry” over the issue then.

‘MLAs met Rahul, matter ends there’

When asked about the state party leadership not reaching out to three senior MLAs Rakesh Pandey, Randeep Singh Nabha and Amrik Singh Dhillon who had last week met Congress president Rahul Gandhi to express their resentment at the cabinet expansion, Jakhar said: “Now that they had met the party president the matter should end there.”

First Published: May 29, 2018 13:48 IST