Govt should shed its ‘arrogance’, reduce fuel taxes: Congress

Govt should shed its ‘arrogance’, reduce fuel taxes: Congress

Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the government should immediately roll back the additional taxes of Rs 23.78 and Rs 28.37 per litre on petrol and diesel

New Delhi: The Congress Saturday accused the Modi government of ignoring the woes of common man and asked it to shed its “arrogance” and reduce the tax imposed on petroldiesel and LPG.

Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the government should immediately roll back the additional taxes of Rs 23.78 and Rs 28.37 per litre on petrol and diesel respectively, which will help bring down fuel prices.

He quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s words as Gujarat chief minister to urge the government to reduce the high tax components on petroleum products. Singhvi said the common man is already hurt due to rising inflation and joblessness amid a decline in the economy post-pandemic.

The PM may ignore the Congress’ demand, but he should at least listen to his own words as Gujarat CM during the UPA regime at the Centre, or may heed RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das‘s advice that the rising fuel prices will have a cascading effect, the Congress leader said.

“The Congress and the country urge you to listen to your own voice in bringing down petrol and diesel prices,” he said, playing Modi’s statements on petrol/diesel rates made during the UPA regime.

He also took a dig at Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for saying she is in a dilemma over removing the tax on petrol and diesel, asking, “What is the ‘dharam sankat’ and impediment that even the finance minister cannot reduce fuel tax. Is the PM stopping the FM from doing so?”

It is “shameful”, Singhvi said, that while crude oil is 39.2 percent cheaper since May 2014, petrol and diesel under the Modi regime are 27.5 and 42.2 percent costlier.

He said it was “reverse coalition” where the global rates are coming down, but domestic rates are rising.

Singhvi alleged that this government has raised petrol and diesel rates on 14 occasions in the last 20 days, which he said was unfortunate.

“The Modi government has been the most ‘Mehengi Sarkaar’ for the people, which has taxed them heavily. This arrogant government refuses to acknowledge people’s problems or give any relief to them. It has only tried to ‘divide, deceive, dupe, distract and delude’, which are the five favourite Ds of the ‘Hum Do, Hamre Do Sarkaar’,” he alleged.

The Congress leader said in the last over six years, this government has earned over Rs 21.5 lakh crore by imposing additional excise duty on petrol and diesel.

Citing figures to substantiate his claim, he said in May 2014, the international crude oil price was USD 108 per barrel and petrol was selling at Rs 71.51 per litre in Delhi while diesel was selling at Rs 57.28 a litre.

The international crude oil prices as on February 25, 2021 are USD 65.70 per barrel, but the price of petrol has increased to Rs 91.17 per litre in Delhi whereas diesel is selling at Rs 81.47 per litre in Delhi, he pointed out, alleging that the BJP regime has increased petrol rates by 820 per cent and diesel by 258 per cent since it came to power.

He also said the price of domestic gas cylinder has increased by Rs 200 in the last three months and accused the government of consistently misrepresenting facts about subsidy on LPG cylinder.

“We demand the immediate withdrawal of ‘Modi tax’ of Rs 23.87 and Rs 28.37 per litre on petrol and diesel, which was increased by the Modi government since May 2014. This is not a favour, the people deserve relief in these hard pandemic times. This reduction will reduce petrol price to Rs 67.39 per litre and Diesel price to Rs 53.10 per litre,” Singhvi said.

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