Stepping up the attack against the government over steep hike in fuel prices, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the rise in petrol and diesel prices has been unprecedented and demanded its roll back. Leading a protest by Congress MPs on the issue at Vijay Chowk here, he said prices of petrol and diesel have risen nine times in the last 10 days, and the common man is the most affected due to this.
Congress MPs from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha carrying placards raised slogans against the government and sat on a dharna against the fuel price hike. Among those present included Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
"Our demand is that the government should control prices and stop raising petrol and diesel prices," Gandhi said while noting that the poor and middle class have been worst hit by the hike. "We can see that petrol and diesel prices are climbing rapidly. The government is making thousands of crores from this. The Congress is protesting across the country against this price rise of petrol and diesel. The government has to stop doing this. It has to ensure that prices do not rise," he said.
"I had said that when elections will be over, the prices of petrol and diesel will be rising and had asked people to fill up their tanks," he said. This level of price rise in petrol and diesel has been unprecedented, he said while accusing the government of stealing the money from the poor and handing it over to industrialists.
The Congress is also launching a week-long countrywide protest against inflation and rise in fuel prices. Petrol and diesel prices were on Thursday hiked by 80 paise a litre each, taking the total increase in rates in the last 10 days to Rs 6.40 per litre.
Petrol & Diesel Rates Yesterday
Rates have been increased across the country and vary from state to state depending upon local taxation. This is the ninth increase in prices since the ending of a four-and-half-month long hiatus in rate revision on March 22.
(With PTI inputs)