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Congress holds nationwide protest against fuel price hike; Sonia Gandhi says govt ‘extorting money from people’

Congress on Monday held a nationwide protest against the Central Government in view of hike in fuel prices across the country. While various state units held demonstrations in their state units, a social media campaign #SpeakUpAgainstFuelHike was also launched by the party. 

Attacking the led Central government over the rising prices of petrol and diesel prices, Congress President Sonia Gandhi accused the BJP regime of “extorting money from people” and sought an immediate rollback of the increase in prices of petroleum products.

Leading the ‘Speak Up Against Fuel Hike’ campaign of the party, Sonia Gandhi said that people were battling coronavirus pandemic and the government has increased price of diesel and petrol. 

“The government is profiteering at the expense of the people, it is an example of extorting money from people,” she said.

She alleged that the Narendra Modi government has increased excise duty on diesel and petrol prices 12 times since 2014.

“Since 2014, instead of giving the benefit of a decrease in the price of petrol and diesel in the international market, the Modi government has increased excise duty 12 times and collected Rs 18 lakh crore,” she said.

“The price of diesel and petrol has crossed Rs 80 per litre in big cities like Mumbai and Delhi. In the last three months, the Modi government has increased the price 22 times. They have also raised excise duty. They are doing this at a time when the prices of petrol and diesel are continuously dropping in the international market,” she added.

Sonia Gandhi urged the Centre to roll back the rise in excise duty on petrol and give the benefit to people.

“This will provide big relief in this period of economic crisis,” she said.

The price of petrol on Monday increased to Rs 80.43 (a hike of 5 paise) and that of diesel increased to Rs 80.53 (a hike of 13 paise) in Delhi. Sunday was the only day in the last three weeks when there was no change in fuel prices in the national capital.

Oil marketing companies have been adjusting retail rates “in line with costs” after an 82-day break from rate revision amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These firms on June 7 restarted revising prices in line with costs. 

Various state and city units of the Congress party held protests and submitted a memorandum to authorities demanding roll back in fuel prices. 

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with Congress leaders on Monday rode a bicycle from his residence to Minsk Square to protest against the hike in fuel prices. KPCC President DK Shivakumar was also seen riding a bicycle along with other members of the Congress party to Minsk Square where the party staged the protest.

During the protest, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar along with party leaders carried the ‘arthi’ of a scooter on their shoulders.