The Congress on Saturday accused the Centre of “arrogance” and asked it to reduce the taxes imposed on petrol, diesel and liquified petroleum gas cylinders after oil marketing companies hiked fuel prices again – for the 16th time in February, according to PTI.
Fuel prices, however, remained stagnant on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the government should immediately roll back the additional taxes of Rs 23.78 and Rs 28.37 per litre on petrol and diesel, respectively. In a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singhvi played a clipping of his own, while he was the Gujarat chief minister, speaking against the then Congress regime for the increase in fuel prices.
“The Congress and the country urge you to listen to your own voice in bringing down petrol and diesel prices,” Singhvi said.
The Congress leader claimed that while crude oil was 39.2% cheaper, as compared to May 2014, petrol and diesel prices were higher by 27.50% and 42.20%, respectively.
He also attacked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, questioning what her “dharm sankat” (dilemma) was that she could not reduce taxes on fuel. “Is the prime minister stopping the finance minister from doing so?” Singhvi said.
His comments came after petrol prices went up by 24 paise per litre and diesel by 15 paise a litre on Saturday. As a result, petrol was priced at Rs 91.17 per litre in the national Capital in Delhi, while diesel cost Rs 81.47 per litre. The prices remained the same on Sunday.
Voices against the high price of fuel emerged from other parties also, as Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that the Centre and Congress-led government in Punjab should both reduce fuel prices to provide relief to the common man, PTI reported. She said that the Punjab government should take the first initiative and reduce prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 5 per litre each by slashing the value added tax charged by state governments.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said in the state Assembly on Saturday that the Centre should reduce taxes on fuel products as resources for state’s own tax revenue were meagre, PTI reported.
He pointed out that the state government had cut the ad valorem tax (taxes charged on price of fuel) last year from 24% earlier to 15% in petrol. This tax is charged in addition to a fixed tax component of Rs 13.02 per litre on petrol. Panneerselvam said that a similar change was made in the case of diesel too.
“If the old system had been followed, there may have been a scope for the state government to get more revenue during price rise,” he said, suggesting that there was no legroom to cut further taxes.