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Chidambaram Sees Karnataka Elections Link in Static Petrol, Diesel Prices

Former finance minister P Chidambaram also claimed that Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on many items were reduced from 28 to 18 per cent due to the Gujarat Assembly polls last year.

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Updated:May 3, 2018, 6:59 AM IST
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Chidambaram Sees Karnataka Elections Link in Static Petrol, Diesel Prices
File photo of senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram. (PTI)
New Delhi: Taking a dig at the BJP-led central government, Congress leader P Chidambaram said frequent elections also brought benefits for the people and alleged that the prices of petrol and diesel were kept constant of late because of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls.

The former Union finance minister also claimed that Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates on many items were reduced from 28 to 18 per cent due to the Gujarat Assembly polls last year.

“Thanks to Gujarat elections, GST rates on many items reduced from 28% to 18%. Thanks to Karnataka elections, Petrol/Diesel prices kept constant. So, frequent elections also bring benefits to people! (sic)," he said on Twitter.



Earlier, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla expressed apprehension that the BJP government would hike the petrol and diesel prices soon after the May 12 Karnataka polls and alleged that it was not doing so due to the upcoming election in the southern state.

PSU oil firms have not revised petrol and diesel prices since April 24 even though benchmark international rates have gone up by almost $2 per barrel. Before that, petrol had hit a 55-month high of Rs 74.63 a litre and diesel was at a record high of Rs 65.93.

Daily price notification issued by oil firms showed static petrol and diesel price since April 24. This is despite the benchmark international rate for petrol going up from $78.84 per barrel, which was used for raising the price to Rs 74.63 a litre on April 24, to $80.56 now, according to sources privy to fuel pricing methodology.

The benchmark international diesel rates during this period have climbed from $84.68 per barrel to $86.35. Also, the rupee has weakened to Rs 66.14 to a US dollar from Rs 65.41, making imports costlier.

Oil PSU executives have refused to discuss pricing saying they have been asked not to speak on the issue. "We have been told not to discuss pricing," Press Trust of India quoted a top official at one of the three state-owned oil marketing firms as saying. "You can neither quote me or my company on this," he said.

Oil ministry officials said they don't have anything to do with pricing and it’s up to the companies how they price fuel.

(With PTI inputs)

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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