Congress party on Friday staged protests across many states to demand the withdrawal of the price hike in petrol and diesel in the country. Hundreds of Congress workers were seen gathering near petrol pumps in many states including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and raising slogans against the government.
“When the UPA was in power, tax on petrol and diesel was ₹9.20. Now, it is ₹32. We demand complete rollback of excise duty hike on petrol-diesel. Fuel should come under the purview of GST,” said Congress leader KC Venugopal while protesting against the fuel price hike in Delhi.
Venugopal also rode a horse cart as a mark of protest.
On Thursday, Venugopal released a statement saying that protests will be organised by the local units of the party and Covid-19 protocols prescribed by the local, district and state administrations will be followed. The statement further added that there will be no public meetings.
The party, from its official Twitter handle too, urged people to raise their voice against ‘BJP’s tyranny’ on June 11.
“Even during the pandemic, BJP’s great India loot continues. With 47 (fuel) hikes in 2021 alone, Indian pockets are on fire,” Congress had tweeted while using the hashtag #BJPLootingIndia.
Indian Youth Congress members also sent bicycles through courier to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah as a mark of protest against the fuel hike.
“Inflation is already on the rise. We demand that the increased (fuel) prices are withdrawn with immediate effect and relief should be given to the people suffering from inflation and recession by returning the hike in excise duty,” Congress youth president, Srinivas BV said.
Meanwhile, at Vaniyambadi in Tamil Nadu, AICC member Dr Aslam J Basha was seen holding placards with other Congress workers, saying, “Congress party has always stood by the citizens of India and it will not allow the BJP government to continue exploiting people.”
In Uttar Pradesh, many Congress workers were detained by the police as they protested against the hike. Ajay Kumar Lallu, president of the Uttar Pradesh Congress committee too was detained after he was seen protesting the fuel hike.
“…Will not tolerate loot from the public in diesel-petrol. This fight against the slave government of the capitalists will not stop,” Lallu tweeted while sharing his photos where police were seen pushing him inside a police van.
Hitting out at the police, Lallu said, “Our workers are not afraid of the police dictatorship of the Yogi government. We will fight the people’s fight till the last breath.”
Meanwhile, national convenor of Congress, Saral Patel said, “Across Uttar Pradesh… leaders are being detained and put under house arrest to stop them from raising their voice against rising petrol and diesel prices. Why so scared Yogi Adityanath?”
In Mumbai, Congress workers protesting the hike were seen wearing facemasks with pictures of Baba Ramdev on them. Ramdev, along with few more Indian businessmen, has been the eye of the storm for quite some time now as the BJP government has often been blamed for unjustified support to the business ventures of these people.
In several districts of Odisha too, workers were seen holding protest placards as they sat in huddles in front of petrol pumps across the state.
Niranjan Patnaik, Odisha Congress committee president, described the BJP’s rule as ‘tyrannical’. “India is already witnessing a spiralling rise in prices of essential commodities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also took to Twitter to criticise the government for the price hike. Gandhi wrote, “GDP crashing, Unemployment soaring, Fuel prices skyrocketing. In how many more ways is #BJPLootingIndia?”