Mumbai: Petrol and, by default, the Modi government are in the nervous 90s. Just 500 km from Mumbai city is a small town Parbhani, which, on Tuesday, had the dubious distinction of hawking petrol at Rs 90.05 per litre. Mumbai can take heart; it too, is inching towards the danger zone with petrol being quoted at Rs 88.26 per litre in the city.

The 90s can be quite hazardous and this Sachin Tendulkar will vouch – he has the maximum dismissals in the 90s, possibly because he went into a shell trying to reach a personal milestone. Whatever the case, the 90s do have an adverse impact on a batsmen’s strike rate, especially when he is gripped by the nagging fear that he may not reach the three-figure mark. One may stretch the analogy and wonder how it will impact the Modi government in an election year. Already, on the back foot, it is unable to hit out of the mess it finds itself in.

Parbhani, of course, has to bear the brunt of higher transportation cost since it is in the interiors; it is also saddled with the highest amount of VAT in the State. As usual, the burden will be felt by the common man who is already reeling under high electricity tariff and market-driven price of LPG cylinders. Comrade Ganpat Bhise, a resident of Parbhani, told the FPJ: “Farm labour goes to field in auto rickshaws and they will now have to shell out extra for transport.’’ Not to mention the cost of living which is bound to escalate due to the cascading effect of inflation.

Bhise said the common person is questioning the pre-poll rhetoric of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had promised a utopian Ram Rajya in which all old worries would be vanquished. ‘‘For us, who live in rural areas, the international crude price is of little consequence. But we have to subsist on fuel, LPG cylinder and the like. These price hikes are staring us in the face and this government cannot give any excuses,” said Bhise.

The local petrol dealers, however, tried to downplay the hype around the price of fuel. “It is unnecessary hype, said Uday Lodh, president of the All Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association. He said citizens need to appreciate the transportation cost. In Mahrashtra, Pune, is the supply point. The further the location of a depot, the higher the cost. “Cost of transporting fuel by tankers is most expensive and that is crucial when calculating the price of petrol,” said Lodh. He added, “Indian Oil Corporation charges Rs 3.20 per kilogram (1000 litres) per kilometre, while Hindustan Petroleum charges Rs 2.40 for the same distance and quantity.”