Congress to protest fuel price hike, to start signature campaign

Image for representational purpose only

Image for representational purpose only

The agitation will begin by starting a signature campaign at petrol pumps from September 17 and launching a big protest on September 20 in the national Capital.

Amid the recent hike in the prices of petrol and diesel being attributed to wavering market price of crude oil, the ASSOCHAM, while dismissing the same, stated that even though the pricing regime is linked to market-determined rates, a sharp hike in taxes in the form of excise and sales tax or VAT by the Centre and the states distorted the path of reforms. "We will request the people arriving at petrol pumps to buy fuel to sign on our paper to protest against the Centre", a senior congress leader said.

"With massive hikes in central excise duty, the BJP-led government is filling its coffers at the cost of common man". Party member Dr Arun Mitra said it was crude joke for the country that despite the fall in the crude oil prices in the global market, the government continued to fleece the citizens.

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According to party strategists who have been brainstorming for long, high prices of petrol and diesel could help them convince the masses against the policies of the government. The Congress is planning a countrywide agitation from September 20 against heavy taxes on the fuel.

The Delhi Congress chief said burning holes in the pockets of the common people has become the benchmark of governance for the BJP.

He said while worldwide crude oil prices came down by more than 52 per cent since the Modi government took over on May 26, 2014, petrol prices skyrocketed to a three-year high.

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"The total contribution of petroleum to central and state exchequers is pegged at Rs 5,24,304 crore in 2016-17", he said.

"Looting people, profiteering at their expense and squeezing their hard earned money is the sole aim of the BJP government". The party said that the global crude rates were low but the government has increased the fuel rates by levying the massive central excise duties and other taxes.

"Considering the fall in crude oil prices in the worldwide market, the prices of petrol and diesel should be '34 and '32, respectively".

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Lashing out at the central and Delhi governments, Maken said: "In the last three years, the Modi government increased the excise duty on petrol by 133 per cent and on diesel by 400 per cent while the Kejriwal government in Delhi increased Value-Added Tax from 20 to 27 per cent on petrol per litre while Value-Added Tax on diesel was increased from 12.5 per cent to 16.75 per cent". There should be an immediate course correction by withdrawing the massive central excise duties and other taxes imposed on fuel products, he said.

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