Sonia Gandhi accuses BJP of profiting off people’s woes as fuel prices soar

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi accused the Narendra Modi-led government of bringing instability in the nation citing the ongoing farmers’ agitation and the rise in fuel prices. She lashed out at the BJP government alleging that petrol and diesel prices are the highest in 73 years because the Centre is trying to make profits ignoring the hardships faced by the citizens.

Sonia Gandhi alleged that the government recovered Rs 19,00,000 crore from the country’s citizens by increasing excise duty and denied extending the benefits of the global reduction of oil prices across the globe. Oil prices across the globe hit record lows last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns it brought across several countries and major cities.

Sonia Gandhi called the government ‘insensitive’ and alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party is busy profiting from the pandemic instead of extending a helping hand to the masses. “I demand from the government that the rates of excise duty on petrol and diesel be made similar to that during the UPA regime and provide immediate relief to the affected people,” she said in her statement, released by the Congress.

Petrol prices on Thursday rose by 23 paise per litre to Rs 84.20 in the Capital, which is among the all-time highest prices recorded. Diesel prices rose by 26 paise to Rs 74.38 in New Delhi.

Gandhi also said the nation is facing a crisis and appears to be standing at crossroads for the first time since independence. “The country is standing at the crossroads today for the first time in the history of independent India. On one hand, the country’s ‘annadata’ is standing on the borders of Delhi for the last 44 days in support of their legitimate demands, while the country’s autocratic, insensitive and ruthless BJP government is busy breaking the back of the poor, farmers and middle class,” the statement said.

Sonia Gandhi in her statement demanded that the prime minister repeal the newly introduced farm laws. “I once again appeal to the government to repeal the three farm laws immediately and fulfil all the demands of farmers,” Gandhi said.

The government is scheduled to meet the farmers’ unions on January 8. The farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for the last 44 days demanding the repeal of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance, and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. The farmers’ groups believe that these three laws will affect the procurement under the Minimum Support Price system and allow private and multinational companies to make profits off farmers as it will encourage corporate farming.

(with inputs from PTI)

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