Only a handful of Indians who drive four-wheelers need petrol and 95% of the country’s population do not need it, Uttar Pradesh minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Upendra Tiwari told reporters on Thursday, ANI reported.

His comment came on a day when and petrol an diesel prices rose for the second successive hitting fresh all-time highs across the country.

Addressing the media in Uttar Pradesh’s Jalaun town, Tiwari said that the Opposition does not have any issue to target the government.

“The government has provided for coronavirus vaccines and Covid-19 treatment free of cost,” Tiwari said. “...It [fuel price] has not gone up anywhere. If you compare the per capita income with the hike in fuel prices, they still cost very little.”

Tiwari, a minister of state in the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet, also claimed that India’s per capita income has more than doubled since Adityanath came to power in the state and Narendra Modi became the prime minister.

However, data from the World Bank shows that India’s per capita gross national income was $1,560 (Rs 1,16, 762) in 2014 when Modi came to power. The figure stood at $1,900 (Rs 1,42,210) in 2020.

Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices rose by upto 35 paise per litre on Thursday, according to NDTV. In Delhi, petrol cost Rs 106.54 per litre, while diesel rate stood at Rs 95.27 per litre.

In Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, the price of petrol went up to Rs 112.44 and diesel to Rs 103.26 per litre.

BJP defends fuel price hike

Several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have recently put forth arguments similar to Tiwari’s to defend the rise in fuel prices.

Earlier in October, Union Minister for State of Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli said that fuel prices in the country were high because the government spent money to provide free Covid-19 vaccination to citizens.

Last month, BJP’s MLA in Karnataka Aravind Bellad had claimed that the crisis due to Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was responsible for the drop in global crude oil supply, resulting in the rise in fuel prices.

On August 19, Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Ramratan Payal told a journalist to “go to Taliban” because fuel was available for Rs 50 in Afghanistan.

Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri in August claimed that the money collected from the excise duty is used to finance various welfare schemes.

In July, Madhya Pradesh minister Om Prakash Saklecha justified the increase in fuel prices by saying that a person could feel pleasure only when there is pain.