KOLKATA: TMC on Saturday said the Centre's decision to slash fuel prices is an attempt to "fool the people" as it had increased the prices by leaps and bounds in the last few months and said West Bengal will follow suit once it lifts the "economic blockade" and releases the funds due to the state.
TMC national spokesperson Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said the Centre has raised the prices of petrol and diesel at least 14 times in the past few months and by leaps and bounds in the past one year.
"Now it is decreasing the prices by Rs 8 and Rs 6 per litre respectively. This is nothing but an attempt to fool the general people. This cut is not enough to bring down inflation".
To queries, he said West Bengal will slash fuel prices once the Centre cleared its dues amounting to Rs 97,000 crore.
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said BJP should stop trying to take credit for cutting fuel prices.
"The fuel prices were cur due to immense opposition and public pressure," he asserted.
The Centre on Saturday cut excise duty on petrol by a record Rs 8 per litre and that on diesel by Rs 6 per litre to give relief to consumers battered by high fuel prices which has pushed up inflation to a multi-year high.
It also announced subsidy of Rs 200 per cylinder to Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries for 12 cylinders in a year to help ease some of the burden arising from cooking gas rates rising to record levels.
Ghosh said, "The BJP has been saying for a long time that it has no role to play in fuel price hike. If it can slash the prices today, it could have done it long back. But it didn't. So it should stop trying to take the credit of it".
Ray said the Centre is using economic blockade against West Bengal "out of vengeance to stifle the state".
"It (the Centre) should first lift this economic blockade," he said.
Last month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that she will reduce the tax on petroleum products in the state once the central government cleared all the pending dues it owed to the state.
State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said if the TMC government is pro-people it should reduce fuel prices in the state.
"Last time the Centre slashed prices fuel prices, other BJP ruled states also followed suit by reducing taxes. The Mamata Banerjee government did nothing except abuse the Centre," Majumdar said.