The Congress on Saturday slammed the government over the hike in price of domestic LPG cylinder with former party chief Rahul Gandhi saying millions of Indian households are waging a difficult battle against "extreme inflation", unemployment and "poor governance".
The Opposition party also said the central government should roll back the hike in the price of domestic cooking gas cylinder and bring it to the same level as it was for the subsidised cylinder in 2014.
Cooking gas LPG prices were on Saturday hiked by Rs 50 per cylinder, the second increase in rates in just over six weeks following the firming of international energy rates.
Non-subsidised LPG now costs Rs 999.50 per 14.2-kg cylinder in the national capital, up from Rs 949.50 previously, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.
Gandhi said during the Congress-led UPA government, the price of an LPG cylinder was Rs 414 and a subsidy of Rs 827 was being given on every cylinder.
"Today, the cost of a cylinder is Rs. 999. The amount of subsidy given is 'zero'," he said.
The Narendra Modi government has removed all safety nets that the Congress had put in place to protect the common man, Gandhi alleged.
"Today, millions of Indian households are waging a difficult battle against extreme inflation, unemployment, and poor governance," the former Congress chief said in a Facebook post.
"The Congress party would have never let this happen. We have and always will support families in need," he said with the hashtags 'MehengaiMuktBharat' and 'BJPFailsIndia'.
After the hike of Rs 50 in the price of domestic LPG cylinder, the Congress also claimed that the Modi government has increased the price of subsidised cooking gas by over Rs 585 in the last eight years and also ended the subsidy that was given.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi, "BJP is rich, people are helpless. The price of subsidized LPG cylinder has increased two and a half times under the BJP rule. LPG cylinder is now out of reach of the middle class and the poor."
According to him, the price of a subsidised gas cylinder in Delhi in May 2014 was Rs 414, which has now become Rs 999.50, an increase of more than Rs 585.
Surjewala urged the government to "bring down the price of subsidised cooking gas to the level of 2014".
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera also took a dig at the government over inflation by garlanding two gas cylinders and lighting incense sticks in front of vegetables at the party headquarters here. He said this was a condolence meeting for the gas cylinder.
"Sahib (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) increased the price of a gas cylinder by Rs 50 as soon as he came back from a foreign tour. Once Modi ji had put up huge hoardings and said that surrender the subsidy. Seeing these conditions today, it seems that the cylinder itself should be surrendered," Khera told reporters.
"Our demand is to give some relief to the country. Take back the hike and bring prices to the level of 2014 prices. The country is begging for relief," he said.
The Congress, when it was in power, ensured that the burden of high prices did not fall on the middle class, or on the poor section of the society and therefore there was a subsidy in place on cooking gas, he said.
In 2012-13, the subsidy bill on LPG was Rs. 39,558 crore and before we demitted office in 2013-14, the subsidy on LPG went up to Rs. 46,458 crore, Khera said.
Slamming the Centre, he said, "You (government) are attacking every single household of the country. Whether it is commercial gas, small businesses are dependent on this. So, it has a ripple effect on a lot of other prices."
"...You have no understanding of how to run a country, how to govern a country. Of course, that's not even a question any more, everybody is watching the way you falter, but, a country which has given you so much of recognition, two victories, you owe it to the country, that when the country needs relief, you should be there to give that relief," he said urging the government to roll back the hike.
The latest hike is the second increase in LPG rates in just over six weeks. Prices were hiked by Rs 50 per cylinder on March 22.
Since April 2021, prices have risen by Rs 190 per cylinder.
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