NEW DELHI: The Congress plans to hold nationwide protests over high prices of petrol and diesel, owing to high excise duties, in a desperate attempt to reconnect with the masses.
The Congress lost power at the centre in 2014 and since then suffered a series of electoral reverses in many states, barring the Punjab win this year.
According to party strategists who have been brainstorming for long, high prices of petrol and diesel could help them convince the masses against the policies of the government.
“We shall fight this battle to reduce taxes nationwide and challenge the BJP to come out with a white paper. We will fight until this tax regime is withdrawn,” Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said.
Party leaders said increase in central excise duty 11 times in the past three and half years---133.47 percent in petrol and 400.86 percent in diesel, coupled with high food prices, has hit the people hard.
Due to rise in fuel prices, food inflation showed rising price trends of onion at 88.46 percent, vegetables at 44.91 percent, and fruits at 7.35 percent and milk at 3.94 percent.
Maken said though the prices of international crude oil have come by over 50 percent in the past three years, the benefits have not been passed on to the consumers.
This, he said, would provide an ideal situation for the Congress to oppose the government, whose way of handling economic growth too has raised several eyebrows.
The Congress, which had paid dearly for first reducing the number of domestic LPG cylinders per family per year from 12 to 9 and later restoring it to 12, further said that the centre’s decision to hike price of such fuel by Rs 4 per month from July this year has adversely affected around 18.11 crore customers.
“The price of a subsidised LPG cylinder has gone up from Rs 412 in 2014 to Rs 487,” said Maken adding the kerosene users too had been impacted.