The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab leader Harpal Sing Cheema on Tuesday blamed the Narendra Modi-led Central government and the Channi government of Punjab for the daily rise in petrol and diesel prices.
The Leader of Opposition alleged that before 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders used to take to the streets half-naked to protest against the rise in petrol and diesel prices and inflation and today when the lives of the people have become miserable due to inflation; all those leaders are sitting in silence.
In a statement, Cheema said, “The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power by protesting against rising petrol and diesel prices and making it an election issue, but the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has increased the excise duty on petrol by 43 per cent and on diesel by 68.8 per cent which is a big betrayal with the people of the country,” he said.
The AAP leader alleged the Union government had de-controlled petrol and diesel prices but did not benefit the people when crude oil prices fell in the international market. On the contrary, when crude oil prices rose, the burden fell on the pockets of the people which represented the anti-people mentality of the BJP, Cheema said adding the Congress government in Punjab was as much responsible for the rise in petrol and diesel prices as the Modi government which had proved insensitive in controlling inflation.
“Petrol-diesel prices in Punjab are the highest among the neighbouring states as the Punjab government is levying 31.17 per cent VAT on petrol and 19.56 per cent VAT on diesel,” he said. Cheema said Punjab was an agriculture-oriented state and diesel was mostly used by the farmers as various machinery for sowing, irrigation, harvesting and transporting the crops to the mandis were run on diesel. The irony is that the price of diesel in Punjab has also gone up to Rs 100, which is putting a huge financial burden on the farmers, he added.
The AAP leader said that due to the higher VAT rate on diesel petrol than the neighbouring states, where the consumers were being robbed; the petrol pump owners were also being harassed as consumers were buying petrol-diesel from the pumps of neighbouring states. Cheema also demanded from the Punjab government and the Union government to reduce the taxes levied on petrol and diesel so as to bring down their prices and control inflation.