Petrol and diesel prices in the country have perhaps crossed the century mark because the Narendra Modi government thinks not too many centuries are being scored in cricket these days, former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram quipped on Monday.
Addressing a press conference here, he said that it was surprising that the Central government raised fuel prices even during the festive occasion of Diwali.
“Today — unexpectedly, because I thought on the eve of Diwali, they wouldn’t do this — the government has once again announced an increase in prices. As of yesterday (Sunday) night, the prices of petrol and diesel have touched unprecedented levels. It (petrol) is Rs 115 per litre in Mumbai and Rs 120 in some places in Rajasthan like (Sri) Ganganagar. In Goa, it is Rs 106 a litre,” Chidambaram said.
“And diesel is not far behind… it has also crossed hundred. Maybe the Modi govt thought that not many centuries are being scored in the cricket test matches. His government may score a century both in petrol and diesel. What they’ve done is shameful. Condemnable,” Chidambaram added.
“The Modi government has decided that we are sucking blood anyway, so why should we draw blood in drops. Let us draw large quantities of blood. What they’ve done and what they are doing is squeezing every Indian citizen, rich and poor, and the poor of course suffer the most by these exhorbitant, unconscionable and condemnable increase in prices,” he said, adding that there was “no economic justification” for the price rise.
The former Union minister also said that the root cause of the price rise in India was high taxation.
“The effective rate of tax on petrol of the Central government alone is 33 per cent. On diesel, it is 32 per cent. To levy a 33 per cent tax and a 32 per cent tax on a single commodity is completely unacceptable.
“It is more than the corporate tax rate. Corporates that make billions of rupees are taxed at a lower rate,” he further said, adding that the state Congress unit would be holding a major demonstration against price rise on November 4.