Madhya Pradesh minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Om Prakash Saklecha on Saturday justified the increase in fuel prices in a bizarre manner by suggesting that a person could feel pleasure only when there is pain, NDTV reported.

“Troubles in your life make you appreciate happiness,” he told reporters. “If there is no problem, you won’t ever feel happy.”

When a reporter pressed further asking whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies had failed in the face of rising fuel prices, Saklecha veered away from the matter and chose to blame the Congress’ vaccination policies.

“This may be the opinion of people like you who spread rumours,” Saklecha said. “The Congress party you tend to prefer...They took 40 years to vaccinate citizens against polio, whereas Modi ji took initiative to develop and inoculate the entire population [against coronavirus].”

Over the last few months, the price of petrol has crossed Rs 100 in at least 16 states and Union Territories in India. Diesel also costs more than Rs 100 per litre in some parts of Rajasthan, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. Fuel prices have risen on 38 occasions since May 4, when state-owned oil firms ended a 18-day hiatus in rate revision they had observed during Assembly elections to four states and one Union Territory.

Other Bharatiya Janata Party leaders too have made insensitive comments on the matter. Last month Madhya Pradesh Energy Minister Pradhuman Singh Tomar suggested people should cycle rather than use fuel-driven vehicles, as that would keep them healthy and reduce pollution.

In February, as petrol prices in India touched the Rs 100 per litre-mark for the first time, Modi himself blamed the policies of previous governments for failing to reduce the country’s energy import dependence.