The ruling BJD took out a rally here with bullock carts and bikes to protest against the hike in petrol and diesel prices while demanding a roll back. Though the gathering was thin, the sight of bullock carts on the main road of the city attracted attention.

BJD leaders including former ministers Arun Sahu, Sanjay Das Burma delivered fiery speeches condemning the NDA government at the centre and the PM in particular. They ridiculed the ‘acche din’ slogan of the PM. When international crude prices dipped to all time low, the benefit was not transferred to the consumers.

The money thus saved was misspent on propaganda of the BJP with huge cut outs of the PM in every petrol filling station. Now the rise in international crude price is being peddled as an excuse to hike petrol and diesel price, charged the BJD activists.

Denouncing the BJP led government at the centre, the BJD alleged that during the erswhile Congress rule the crude prices were over 100 dollars a barrel and then the BJP including Mr Modi who wasCM of Gujarat had raised a hue and cry. Today, Mr Modi is the PM and remains silent on all such matters, they quipped.

The price hike should be rolled back as it will have a cascading effect on all goods and services, they said. The BJD leaders also spoke of central apathy towards Odisha. The former prime minister Manmohan Singh had once told a delegation from Odisha that “ money does not grow on trees” and people of the state showed the door to the Congress in the elections.

Today, PM Modi does not give appointment to delegations from Odisha , people of the state will the way out to the BJP in the next elections, they said. Reacting to the BJD tirade, the state unit of the BJP said such political stunts by a handful of activists shouldnot be taken seriously.

The BJD government in Odisha imposes the highest VAT on fuel. If the BJD is sincere in lessening the burden on consumers it should reduce VAT, said the BJP. VAT in states like West Bengal, Jharkhand is less than Odisha , noted the BJP.

The state is getting Rs 24 and Rs 22 by way of taxes on petrol and diesel per litre respectively whereas the centre gets only Rs 14.58 to the litre . The state can cut taxes and help reduce prices, said the BJP.