Modi govt ignoring inflation, says Cong, seeks diesel rate cut

New Delhi: Citing a substantial drop in international crude oil rates, Congress today demanded a drastic reduction in the prices of diesel in the country even as it charged that the Narendra Modi government was “turning a blind eye” to inflation.

The price of diesel should be brought down to its 2010 levels, Congress said on the eve of Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra with the party looking to retain power in both states.

“BJP should bring down the price of diesel to its December 2010 levels. It would be a strong anti-inflationary step, but the government is profiteering from international trends,” claimed party spokesman Ajoy Kumar.

Speaking to reporters here, he rejected as mere eyewash the claims by BJP leaders of reducing diesel prices and accused the government of misleading people by taking credit for bringing down prices by 50 paise or Re 1 while oil companies were being allowed to make “obnoxious” profits.

Kumar warned the government that Congress would launch nationwide protests if diesel prices were not brought down immediately.

“What is the need for the government to allow such obnoxious and windfall profits to the oil companies. We want to tell the government that such obnoxious profits are not acceptable,” Kumar said as he accused the Centre of handing “lollipops” to people in the name of diesel-price reduction.

Congress claimed that crude oil rates in the international market were at a 46-month low at Rs 5,375.30 per barrel down from Rs 6,318.76 on May 26 this year.

Despite that, diesel prices in the country have increased by Rs 2.26 since that time, he said. It is only logical that the prices in the domestic market are also brought down in keeping with the corresponding slide in international rates, Kumar added.

“The NDA government has raised diesel prices by 3.9 per cent on four different occasions since assuming power. When international prices were at similarly low levels 46 months back, the price in the domestic market in Delhi was Rs 37.75 per litre,” stated Kumar.

Sold at Rs 56.71 per litre when the NDA coalition entered office, diesel today is available at Rs 58.97 per litre in Delhi, he said.

“Isn’t the government aware that diesel-driven inflation is something that adversely affects the largest section of the population?… Why is the government not reducing diesel prices? What is keeping it from passing on the benefits (of the drop in prices) to ordinary Indians?”

He said that oil companies were making a profit of Rs 1.9 per litre of diesel on Sept. 30 when the price of the Indian basket was US Dollar 95.34 while the prices of crude further dropped to US Dollar 87.76.

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