Yoga guru Ramdev on Sunday said rising fuel prices will cost the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government dearly if it is not controlled soon. He was speaking at the NDTV Youth Conclave in New Delhi.

“If the government lets me, and gives some relief in tax, I can give petrol, diesel to India at Rs 35 to Rs 40 per litre,” he claimed. He added that petrol and diesel must be brought under the Goods and Services Tax regime but they cannot be under the highest tax slab of 28%. “The revenue lost will not stop the country,” he said. “We can impose taxes on the rich.”

The prices of petrol and diesel continued to rise on Sunday with a litre of petrol costing Rs 89.29 in Mumbai and Rs 81.91 in Delhi, recording an increase of 28 paise. A litre of diesel was priced at Rs 78.26 in Mumbai and Rs 73.72 in Delhi.

The prices of petrol and diesel have continued to rise due to the recent depreciation in the rupee’s value and a rise in international oil rates. While crude oil prices have been around the $80 per barrel mark, the rupee declined against the dollar this week, making imports costlier. On September 10, Opposition parties staged a nationwide shutdown to protest against the rise in fuel prices and decline in rupee’s value. The Congress called for the bandh, and claimed to have the support of 21 parties.

As the prices rise, the blame game has escalated. While the Congress-led opposition is putting pressure on the government to bring down taxes, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has blamed the massive bills of oil bonds and subsidies from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance era for their inability to cut taxes now.

‘Will not campaign for BJP’

Ramdev said he will not campaign for the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “Why would I?” he replied when asked the question. “I have withdrawn myself politically. I am with all parties and I am with no parties.”

He added that people who criticise Modi can do so because it is their “fundamental right”. However, he added, Modi “has done good work” by launching the Clean India mission and not allowing any major scams under his rule. “Yes, some political questions are being raised about the Rafale deal,” he added.

He also claimed: “People who are making the cow a religious animal are wrong. Cow has no religion.”