The Congress on Saturday announced a three-phased campaign, “Mehngai-Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan”, against price rise under which it will organise rallies and marches across the country from March 31 to April 7.
The announcement was made after Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with party general secretaries and State in-charges where the party reviewed its membership drive and also discussed the programmes for ahead especially after its recent dismal performance in five Assembly elections.
The party is demanding a roll back of the hike in prices of fuel and cooking gas. Addressing a press briefing, Party General Secretary (Communications) said that people of India have been betrayed, duped and deceived by Modi government. “For 137 days the government kept the price of petrol, diesel, LPG cylinder, piped natural gas and CNG unchanged to secure votes in the five Assembly elections. And now that the elections are over, the government is slowly increasing the prices every day,” Mr. Surjewala said.
In last five days, the prices of petrol and diesel have gone up by ₹3.20 per litre. Mr. Surjewala pointed out that in the last eight years, the BJP government has increased the excise duty on petrol by an additional ₹18.70 per litre and on diesel by an additional ₹18.34 per litre. He also hit out at the ruling government for drastically reducing subsidy. Quoting statistics of Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) he said that the Congress led UPA government in 2011-12 gave a subsidy of ₹1,42,000 crore on petrol, diesel and LPG. This amount has come down to ₹11,729 crores in 2020-21.
The three-phase agitation will begin on 31st March. The party has told its workers to protest outside their homes and public places. He said people will garland LPG cylinders, beat drums and ring bells to highlight the issue of inflation and seek to draw the attention of the “deaf BJP government against the insurmountable increase in the prices of cooking gas, petrol and diesel.
From April 2 to April 4, the Congress, along with NGOs, religious, social organisations and resident welfare bodies, will organise dharnas and marches at the district level across the country, he said.
On April 7, the party will organise “Mehngai-Mukt Bharat” dharnas and marches at all State headquarters with the help of social and religious organisations, NGOs and people, Mr. Surjewala said.