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Fuel price hikes ‘new example of forced extortion’: Sonia Gandhi

Representational image.

Representational image.   | Photo Credit: V. Raju

Congress has launched an online campaign against regular fuel price increases

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday accused the Union government of setting a ‘new example of forced extortion’ by raising fuel prices for 22 times and asked it to immediately roll back the increase, as part of the party’s online campaign against regular fuel price increases.

Ms. Gandhi charged the government with ‘profiteering’ at the expense of people instead of helping them during the present crisis. She called the fuel hikes a ‘living proof ‘of how the government can take away people’s hard earned money to fill its coffers.

Also read: Petrol price up 25 paise, diesel 21 paise

“After the March 25 lockdown, the Modi government, in the last three months, has raised the prices of petrol and diesel 22 times. The price of diesel has gone up by ₹11 a litre and that of petrol by ₹9.12 a litre. The Modi government has made provision for collecting lakhs of crores by raising excise duty in the last three months and all this is happening at a time when the international crude oil prices are continuously falling,” she said in a video message.

Taking part in the ‘Speak Up Against Fuel Hike’,she said the common people were finding it very difficult with the double blow of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous rise in in petrol and diesel prices.

Also read: Maharashtra minister questions silence of Amitabh Bachchan on rising fuel prices

Since 2014, she claimed, the government raised excise duty 12 times and garnered an additional revenue of nearly ₹18 lakh crore.

“The government has set a new example of extortion from people through this unjustified increase in petrol and diesel prices. This is not only unjust but also insensitive. It directly hurts the country's farmers, the poor, the working class, the middle class and the small businesses,” she said.

Rahul, Priyanka pitch in

Former party chief Rahul Gandhi and its general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also joined the campaign on social media. They appealed to people to demand a roll back from the government. Mr. Gandhi said that though the country was facing the Coronavirus crisis, unemployment and an economic storm, the Central government was helping only the crony capitalistss instead of rescuing common citizens.

“By increasing fuel prices 22 times, the government has hurt the poor and the weak people. It hurts directly as well as indirectly...Whenever fuel prices are increased, prices of every commodity goes up,” he said in a separate video message.

Senior party leader Ahmed Patel said, “This government knows that there are no elections for the next four years, so they are going on increasing. Just before elections, they will adopt some tactic and may offer some of the money collected now’.

Congress’s Randeep Surjewala also put out a video as part of the campaign, alleging that the government has collected Rs 1.3 lakh crore through the fuel price hikes since the lockdown.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 9:08:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fuel-price-hikes-new-example-of-forced-extortion-sonia/article31945896.ece

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