In a scathing attack against the BJP government for the steep rise in prices of fuel, cooking oil and pulses, the Madhya Pradesh Congress on Friday staged protests and attacked top saffron party leaders for not speaking on the issues despite protesting against the same concern during the price hike in UPA rule.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh during protests at a petrol pump in New Market questioned the whereabouts of “cycle borne" Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and union minister Smriti Irani and “Dhongi Baba" who used to appear when fuel prices were hiked in UPA government.
“Whenever fuel prices were revised in UPA, Shivraj used to ride a bicycle and leaders like Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and ‘Dhongi Baba’ hit the roads; where are they now," asked Singh while staging a protest at Nanke petrol pump in Bhopal.
Highlighting the excessive taxation on fuel, the Rajya Sabha MP called the Modi government a “government of high inflation." He demanded that excise duty levied on fuel at Rs 34 per litre should be withdrawn to Rs 9 a litre as earlier.
Pointed out that fuel prices are soaring in the country despite a decline in crude oil prices, he accused the BJP government of using the money to build “lavish forts."
“In one year, the government will earn Rs 2.70 lakh crore from fuel. They will invest the amount to build lavish forts," he said.
Party wing leaders, including Youth Congress and Mahila Congress, also protested against the fuel rike hike and held demonstrations in Bhopal and other regions.
Party workers, wearing black bands, also protested at petrol pumps in Indore. “Apart from fuel prices, prices of edible oil, foodgrain have gone up considerably as the public struggle to survive during the pandemic," MLA Sanjay Shukla said.
“Public has seen it all and will offer a fitting reply in 2023 assembly polls and 2024 Lok Sabha polls," he added.
However social distancing norms went for a toss during the protests.
Police arrested Congressmen in different districts during the protest. In Gwalior, Mahila Congress members sang “Manhgayi Dayan" song on the beats of dholak in the protest.
Youth Congress workers led by state head Vikrant Bhuria took part in the protests and was later arrested for violating the Covid-19 protocol in Bhopal. “I will call it theft not inflation as there is no single product which is in short supply and Centre is helping profiteers,” said Bhuria.