Using the phrase used by the late Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee in 1973 against the Indira Gandhi government, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah on Wednesday termed the steep hike in prices of fuel and essential commodities as “criminal loot” by the Central and State governments. Mr Siddaramaiah urged the House to pass a resolution opposing hike in prices of fuel and essential commodities.
Initiating a debate on hike in prices of fuel and essential commodities in the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Siddaramaiah recalled Vajpayee’s protest against the seven paisa hike in petrol in 1973 and said then an MP, Vajpayee came to Parliament in a bullock cart and criticised the Congress government led by Indira Gandhi’s decision to hike the price as “criminal loot.”
State Congress legislators too came in bullock carts to attend the legislature session on Monday.
The Congress leader said hike in excise duty on petrol and diesel led to steep hike in prices of essential commodities and construction materials such as steel, cement, hardware and manufacturing products. He compared fuel prices during the UPA regime to the last seven years of Modi government even as the ruling party members questioned the necessity of discussing the central government’s decisions in the state legislature.
Ministers J C Madhuswamy, R Ashok, K Sudhakar and several others questioned the relevance of the debate and blamed the then UPA government for the present hike in fuel prices. Poor management of public sector oil companies and raising funds through oil bonds by the Manmohan Singh government were the major causes for rise in prices, BJP ministers said.
The Modi government has been repaying Rs 10,000 crore each year on funds raised through oil bonds by the UPA regime, they said. (eom)
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