Follow Raj Dharma, reduce fuel prices: Sonia Gandhi writes to PM Modi

New Delhi

Accusing the government of "profiteering" off "people's misery", Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Sunday wrote to PM Modi over "spiralling" fuel prices, urging him to follow 'Raj Dharma' and reduce the prices by partially rolling back excise duty.

In a 3-page letter to Modi, she said the government has been "unreasonably over­ze­­­alous" in levying excessive excise duty on petrol and diesel and asserted this was "nothing short of extortion" to cover up "economic mismanagement". The truth is as GDP "nosedives", the prices of gas, diesel and petrol continue to rise unchecked, the Congress chief said. Gandhi also said governments are elected to ease the burden of people and at the very least, not work directly contrary to their interests.

"I write to you to convey every citizen's anguish and deep distress regarding the spiralling fuel and gas prices. On one hand, India is witnessing systematic erosion of jobs, wages and household income. The middle class and those at the margins of our society are struggling. These challenges have been compounded by runaway inflation and an unprecedented rise in price of almost all household items and essential commodities," the Congress chief said, adding, "Sadly, in these distressing times, the government has chosen to profiteer off people's misery and suffering."

Stressing fuel prices are at an "historic and unsustainable" high, Gandhi said petrol has breached the Rs 100 per litre mark in many parts of the country and the surging price of diesel has added to the escalating woes of millions of farmers.

"What baffles most citizens, is that these prices have been increased despite moderate prices of international crude oil. To put it in context, the crude oil price is nearly half of what it was during the UPA government's tenure. Therefore, your government's act of raising prices (continuously for 12 days till February 20th) is little less than a brazen act of profiteering," she said.

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