NEW DELHI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the government over the rising price of domestic cooking gas, diesel and petrol, and alleged that an amount of Rs 23 lakh crore has been earned by increasing prices of these commodities in the last seven years.
He also alleged that while sections such as farmers, salaried class and labourers were being demonetised, a few industrialist friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were being monetised. At a press conference, Gandhi said the government has come up with a new concept of GDP, wherein a rise in GDP means a rise in prices of Gas, Diesel and Petrol.
The former Congress chief alleged that the government has earned Rs 23 lakh crore from increasing prices of gas, diesel and petrol in the last seven years, and said the people of the country should ask where is this money going.
"On one hand there is demonetisation and on the other there is monetisation. Whose demonetisation is taking place -- farmers, labourers, small traders and informal sector, MSMEs, contract workers, salaried class and honest industrialists. Whose monetisation is taking place -- four-five friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Gandhi said.
The Congress leader alleged that a transfer of wealth is taking place from the poor and the weak to the prime minister's friends. He said that the government was panicking over not being able to fulfil its promises and was surviving on fuel prices.
Gandhi added that the day when the international crude oil prices rise to about USD 90-100, the situation will spiral out of control here. He also compared figures of cooking gas cylinders, petrol and diesel between the time when UPA was in power in early 2014 to now.
The LPG gas price was Rs 410 per cylinder in 2014 when the UPA (Congress-led United Progressive Alliance) was in power, now it is Rs 885. Petrol was at Rs 71.5 per litre in 2014 when the UPA was in power, now it is Rs 101 and diesel has risen from Rs 57 to Rs 88, Gandhi said.
International prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas are down since 2014, but prices are still rising in India, he said.
The Congress party has been attacking the government over the rise in petrol, diesel and LPG prices and has been demanding a reduction in them by removing some of the taxes imposed by the central government.
The prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cooking gas cylinders across all categories including subsidised gas on Wednesday were hiked by Rs 25 per cylinder -- the third straight increase in rates in less than two months.
Subsidised as well as non-subsidised LPG now costs Rs 884.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi, according to a price notification of oil companies.