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Congress accuses BJP-led government of 'profiteering' from rise in prices of petrol, diesel

New Delhi: Accusing the BJP-led government of "profiteering" through a repeated increase in prices of petrol and diesel, the Congress on Saturday announced a three-phased 'Mehngai Mukt Bharat Abhiyan' which will culminate on April 7 with protests and march in state capitals. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a press conference that the Modi Government "has earned Rs 26 lakh crore in eight years" by increasing excise duty on petrol and diesel. Referring to the hike in the price of petrol and diesel by 80 paise per litre on Saturday, he said this is the fifth hike in the last five days and the prices have been raised by Rs 3.20 per litre. He accused the government of "deception" and "loot of people". Surjewala said Congressmen and people will on March 31 protest outside their homes and public places with "garlanded gas cylinders and beat of drums-bells-other instruments to draw the attention of the deaf BJP Government against the insurmountable increase in prices of gas, petrol, diesel". He said there will be district-level protests and marches from April 2 to 4. "People of India have been betrayed, duped and deceived by government," he alleged. The Congress leader said that prices of petrol, diesel, gas cylinder, piped Natural Gas (PNG) and CNG remained unchanged for 137 days "to secure the votes of people" in the assembly polls in five states. He said last one week has been a nightmare for budget of every household and accused the government of "fleece people to fill its coffers".Surjewala said that in May, 2014 when BJP assumed power at the Centre, excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.20 per litre and on diesel, it was Rs. 3.46 per litre. "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 Rs.18.34 per litre. This is a shocking 531 per cent hike in excise duty on Diesel and 203 per cent on petrol," he said. Surjewala said when the Congress-UPA government was in power, the price of crude oil was USD 108 per barrel but petrol and diesel were at Rs 71.41 and Rs 55.49 per litre respectively, which have now been increased to Rs 98.61 and Rs 89.87 in Delhi. He said on March 22, 2020, petrol and diesel rates were Rs 69.59 and Rs 62.29 respectively, which have been raised to Rs 98.61 and Rs 89.87 per litre respectively, "an increase of Rs 29.02 for petrol and Rs 27.58 for diesel in last two years". The Congress leader said that the average price of crude oil in last three years of Modi Government, as available on the official website, is 60.6 USD per barrel, which in comparison was 108.46 USD in the last three years of the UPA government from 2011 to 2014. Surjewala said the subsidies have come down drastically and the price of the domestic gas cylinder has gone up from Rs 410 in the Congress-UPA government in 2014 to Rs. 949.50 in Delhi and over Rs. 1,000 in most cities." "In eight years, Modi govt has increased the price of the domestic gas cylinder by Rs 539.50," he said. Surjewala said the BJP-led government has increased PNG by 43.6 per cent and CNG prices have increased by 88 per cent. "In last eight years of BJP-led government, the auto-taxi-bus-car users have been fleeced off Rs 64,207 crore extra," he alleged.

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