Rajasthan minister Rajkumar Rinwa on Monday said the public should cut down its expenses to tackle the increase in fuel prices, ANI reported.

“The government is trying. Fuel prices in India are driven by the prices of crude oil in the world market,” said Rinwa, who is in charge of the department of Devasthan. “There is so much expenditure, floods all over, and consumption. The public doesn’t understand that if the prices of crude oil increases, they should reduce their expenses.”

Rinwa’s comments came as the Bharat Bandh called by the Congress continued in several states. The shutdown was observed in Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Haryana, against the rise in fuel prices and drop in rupee’s value against the United States dollar.

Reiterating the government’s stand that it has no role in the price rise, Rinwa said that the Centre has no control over prices of crude oil in the international market. Earlier in the day, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attributed the hike to external factors. “People know the truth, there is no role of government in fuel hike,” the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot said Rinwa’s remarks were insensitive. “Such remarks from the BJP leadership tell you they are very arrogant, they are insensitive to the needs of people,” ANI quoted Pilot as saying. “When people are suffering, they are making it worse by such outlandish statements.”

Last year, Rinwa had said politicians who make derogatory remarks about the Indian Army should be “finished off”.