New Delhi : The Congress on Monday blasted the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) for claiming to remain in power for the next 50 years and lamented that the Modi government sought to brazen it out instead of responding to the concerns of ordinary citizens reflected in the instant response to the Bharat Bandh call of the opposition parties.
The government’s blatant refusal to lower the prices of petrol and diesel reflects the government’s audacity and arrogance and insensitivity that was also displayed by BJP President Amit Shah in claiming only on Sunday that nobody can remove the BJP from power for 50 years, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot said.
Instead of gloating over the considerable success of Bandh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders were happy that it showed the Opposition unity on the ground to give a clear signal that the people are fed up with the “Modinomics” of ruining their economy and they are just waiting to oust the BJP from power in the elections.
The Congress leaders expressed shock at the government’s response. Gehlot told a Press conference: “Lies, false statistics are being given out to mislead the nation. There is no worry, no empathy, no sense of remorse. They promised to bring down stars from the sky and are now so apathetic to the people’’s miseries.”
Joining with him, Congress communication chief Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “The Prime Minister is silent and the ministers are offering white lies. They said prices of petroleum products are beyond their control as international factors decide.”
Countering the BJP’s “truth of hike in petroleum prices,” he said that the average crude oil price during the Manmohan Singh’s tenure was $107 per barrel while it is $50 in Modi’s four years. That is 55% less but instead of giving benefit to the people, the excise levied on petrol was increased by 210% and on diesel by 443% to collect Rs 11 lakh crore.
“This is profiteering by the Government,” he asserted while releasing the balance sheets of the state-run oil companies to expose the Government’s claim.
Arguing that economy has been ruined by “Modinomics,” Surjewala asked: “If people are being fleeced because of international factors, why are the states ruled by BJP collecting 25 to 30% VAT on petrol & diesel? They have Rs 5000 crore for Modi’s publicity and 1800 crore on his foreign tours but no money to provide relief to people. Do you know Rs 60 crore per month is spent only on changing photographs of Modi on petrol pumps every year across the country?”
Bandh for temporary difficulty a failure: BJP
New Delhi : The Bhartiya Janata Party on Monday claimed the government cannot be blamed for rise in the prices of petrol and diesel as it does not have control on them them any more.
Asserting that the Bharat Bandh by the Congress and other parties on the issue was unsuccessful, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad condemned the violence let loose to instil fear among the citizens across the country on the people not supporting the action.
“BJP believes that in spite of some momentary difficulty, the people are not in support of the Bandh. This is unnerving the Congress and other opposition parties,” he said.
He acknowledged that the people were facing “momentary difficulty” due to increasing petrol and diesel prices and said the people, however, understand that this was due to factors beyond the control of the central government.
Pointing out that petrol and diesel prices are high due to crisis in international market, Prasad said: “The NDA government has been trying its best to contain inflation and it has succeeded on numerous fronts.”
Noting that oil prices had gone down after Modi government came to power in May 2014, he told a press conference at the BJP headquarters that the prices have swelled, but it is a problem whose solution is not in its hands.
“We are standing with people in their problem. We are trying to redress the issue and will do that.”
He said it’s essence of democracy that hospitals, ambulances and medicine shops are allowed to function without any hindrance. Who is responsible for the death of a 2-year old child in Bihar’s Jehanabad due to bandh, creating an environment of fear, he asked.
Meanwhile, a top finance ministry official ruled out any cut in the taxes on petrol or diesel, stating that neither the Centre nor some states have the appetite to stomach revenue loss that will incur.
While a cut in excise duty that the central government levies will impact fiscal deficit, states like Bihar, Kerala, and Punjab are not in a position to cut sales tax or VAT, the official said on condition of anonymity.
The government, he said, anticipates that international oil prices, which together with a drop in the value of rupee have been fuelling the fuel price rise to record levels, will moderate in coming days to take pressure off.
BJP show ‘truth of price hike’
NEW DELHI: The Bhartiya Janata Party on Monday countered the Congress that it has no business to shed crocodile tears on the increase in the prices of petrol and diesel as its past record is much worse.
It released a chart on “truth of hike in petroleum prices” to claim only 13% hike in petrol price since May 2014 as it was selling on Monday in Delhi at Rs 80.73 a litre as against Rs 71.41 a litre on May 16, 2014.
In contrast, the petrol price skyrocketed at a whooping rate of 75.8% from Rs 40.62 a litre on May 16, 2009 to Rs 71.41 a litre on May 16, 2014. Even between May 2004 and 2009 in the UPA-I government, petrol price zoomed 20.5% from Rs 33.71 to Rs 40.62 a litre, the BJP chart showed.
It also showed that the diesel price has gone up by 28% from Rs 56.71 a litre in May 2014 to Rs 72.83 a litre today but not at a much higher rate of 42% during the UPA-I from Rs 21.74 to Rs 30.86 a litre and by 83.7% in the UPA-II from Rs 30.86 to Rs 56.71 a litre.