The Congress on Tuesday said that it would protest if prices of petrol and diesel are raised after the Assembly elections.
Even as fuel prices in India are regulated by oil marketing companies, it has often been observed that the rates remain unchanged during elections, and they are hiked after the result day.
For 18 days in March and April last year, the prices of petrol and diesel remained unchanged as four states and a Union Territory went to polls. However, after the results were announced on May 2, the prices rose steadily to hit record-high levels.
On Tuesday, Congress spokesperson Alka Lamba held a press conference after prices of commercial liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, cylinders were raised by Rs 105. She expressed apprehension that the price of domestic gas cylinders will also be increased by Rs 27 after the ongoing Assembly elections are over.
“The Congress will take to the streets if the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG are raised after the elections,” she said.
Lamba also claimed that the rise in prices of commercial gas cylinders amid Assembly polls showed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had conceded defeat in the Uttar Pradesh state elections. She described the rise in India’s inflation numbers as a “man-made or Modi-made disaster”.
Earlier this month, government data showed that India’s retail inflation for January had risen to 6.01%, breaching the upper margin of the price rise indicator limit set by the Reserve Bank of India. The central bank aims to keep retail inflation within the range of 2% to 6%.
Meanwhile, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also expressed fear on Tuesday that the prices of petrol and diesel would soon be increased.
“By increasing the prices of LPG [cylinders], the Modi government has made it clear that it has no concerns about the problems that common people face,” he wrote in a tweet. “Today it’s LPG, tomorrow it will be petrol and diesel.”