The Congress on Sunday, taking a jibe at the Central government, said the recent token cut on excise duty was an “electoral lollipop” for the voters in five states facing assembly elections, adding that yet another rise in fuel prices had exposed the Modi government’s hypocrisy.
“The latest raise in the petrol and diesel prices displays the utter hypocrisy of the Modi government. This only means that the so-called reduction was done only because elections in five states are to be announced and serve as an ‘electoral lollipop’,” Congress leader Pawan Khera said while addressing the media in New Delhi.
“It clearly displays Modi government’s duplicity – seeking to shamelessly take credit for a paltry excise duty cut and again prevailing upon oil marketing companies to increase the prices through back door,” he said referring to the Centre’s announcement on Thursday of a Rs 2.5 per litre cut in petrol and diesel prices.
“In the last two days, petrol prices in Delhi have been increased by 32 paisa and diesel prices have been increased by 58 paisa,” Khera said.
Pointing to the fact that during Karnataka elections the fuel prices had remained unchanged for 17 days, Khera wondered if the prices were “truly deregulated”.
“Are petrol-diesel prices truly deregulated or is it that the government tweaks the prices when elections are around the corner,” said Khera pointing to the polling dates for Assembly elections in five states.
Congress reiterated its demand to bring in petroleum products under the ambit of Goods and Services Tax so as to “completely demolish the hypocrisy of credit seeking just before the electoral season”.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on Thursday announced that the government would cut the excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 and the oil marketing companies had been asked to absorb Rs 1 per litre on fuel, taking the relief to Rs 2.50 per litre on petrol and diesel.
Within a day of the one-off excise duty cut and PSUs subsidising fuel, petrol and diesel prices are on the rise again.
(With agency inputs)