Petrol prices fuel protests by Congress, NCP in Maharashtra

Mumbai, (IANS) The opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Thursday took to the streets in Mumbai and other places in Maharashtra to protest against record prices of petrol and diesel.

Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam led a huge protest march of party activists and citizens from Santa Cruz East on the busy Western Express Highway to the Mumbai Suburban District Collectorate in Bandra East.

En route, the protestors — carrying banners and placards — raised slogans against the central government.

They recalled the old tweets of Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, Sushma Swaraj and other BJP leaders when they were in opposition, as well as those of Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar who had strongly criticised the then UPA government over increased fuel prices.

“Now, it’s the Congress turn to question them, just like many are doing on the social media, over their complete silence even as the prices of petrol and diesel have touched all-time high in the country and in Maharashtra,” Nirupam said.

He and other speakers pointed out that the shooting petrol and diesel prices had hit not only the commuters, but also the household spendings as vegetables, grains and other essentials had shot up by more than 25 per cent, which was nothing but “looting the people of the country daily”.

“The Congress has been demanding since long to bring petrol and diesel within the Goods and Services Tax purview, which can easily reduce the huge burden of local cesses and dealer commissions and bring a significant decrease in fuel prices. For doing this, the government doesn’t have to depend on global prices of oil, as it is claiming now,” Nirupam said.

NCP state President Jayant Patil attacked the Centre, saying “the costliest fuel in the world is sold in India, and in India, the costliest fuel is sold in Maharashtra.”

“The fuel prices in the country have broken all records. The promise of ‘Achhe Din’ was a ‘jumla’ and the BJP leaders who used to protest loudly in the past don’t even give a simple explanation for this now,” Patil said sharply.

Protests were also held in Pune, Dhule, and other cities in which the Congress and NCP workers, common people, small businessmen and farmers participated in large numbers, braving hot weather conditions.

At some places, the protestors symbolically ‘hanged’ motorcycles or scooters which they couldn’t afford to ply any longer. At other places, protesters rode bicycles to highlight the zooming fuel prices while many others walked along.

On Thursday, petrol and diesel prices in Amravati stood at Rs 86.52/Rs 74.15, in Aurangabad Rs 86.23/Rs 73.91, in Solapur Rs 86.14/Rs 73.84, in Nashik Rs 85.95/Rs 73.84, in Akola Rs 85.57/Rs 72.08, in Navi Mumbai Rs 85.35/Rs 73.02, in Mumbai Rs 85.29/Rs 72.96, and in Pune Rs 85.01/Rs 71.58 respectively.

Medaram Jathara

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