New Delhi: The Congress on Monday termed the hike in CNG/LPG prices an assault on the budget of the common man and said the Narendra Modi government has lost the moral right to govern.
Congress leader Pawan Khera said the "mirage" of "achche din", promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the people of the country, has been shattered and they will give a befitting reply to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the next general elections.
He alleged the BJP was "pickpocketing" savings from the tax levied on fuel and gave the party a new full form "Bahut Jyada Price (BJP)". Khera reiterated the Congress's demand of bringing petrol and diesel under the Goods and Service Tax (GST).
"The unpardonable rise in fuel prices caused by the 'tax terror' of the Modi government has burnt gaping holes in the pockets of common people. Only few months are left. People are counting the days of this anti-people government," he said.
"The mirage of 'achhe din' has been shattered beyond repair and people are fed up of this 'fuel loot'. Yesterday's assault on the budgets of common people is the final nail in the coffin of the government that has lost the moral right to govern," he told reporters.
The Congress and the people of India have lost all hopes. Still, we reiterate our demand that petrol and diesel prices be brought under the ambit of the GST, he said. Khera alleged cooking gas prices have increased by Rs 400 since the Modi government came to power and said the 10 per cent hike in natural gas prices will have a spiralling effect on the prices of CNG, PNG, urea, fertilizers and electricity.
"Couple all this with the ever increasing prices of petrol and diesel, the decimation of budgets of common people is complete," he said. Khera said the prime minister had said that the middle class should give up their cooking gas subsidies, so that the poor can benefit. "Unfortunately, this has turned out to the 'biggest jumla' on both the middle class and the poor."
He said the cost of 14.2 kg non-subsidised LPG was Rs 414 per cylinder in May 2014 and this has risen to Rs 831 per cylinder, a "whopping increase of Rs 399 per cylinder in 52 months of the Modi government". Similarly, he said, the price of subsidised gas cylinder has gone up from Rs 412 in May 2014 to Rs 502 per cylinder.
"Why is the Modi government not rolling back the hike in prices? Why doesn't it rollback the excise and custom duty to give relief of Rs 10-15 per litre?" he asked. The Congress leader claimed the Modi government gives a concession of Rs 1,600 on a LPG connection under the 'Ujjwala scheme' and "this cost is eventually also being paid by the beneficiary in instalments".
Khera alleged that while crude oil prices have reduced by 40 per cent, the "fuel robbery continues". He said petrol prices in Delhi have increased by Rs 5.05 in the last 30 days, while diesel prices in the city have risen by Rs 4.67. In Mumbai, he said, petrol is selling at a back-breaking price of Rs 91.08 and diesel at Rs 79.72. In the last 30 days, petrol prices there have increased by Rs 4.99 and diesel prices by Rs 4.96.
Since May 2014, the Modi government has increased central excise duty 12 times - raising the tax on petrol by 211 per cent and on diesel by 443 per cent. Customs duty has been increased manifold. This has led to a Rs 12 lakh crore 'fuel loot' by "fleecing and duping" the common people, he alleged.