The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the government over the hike in price of LPG cylinders, saying if it comes to power at the Centre, it would end the “loot” by providing cylinders for domestic users under Rs 500.
Cooking gas LPG price on Wednesday was hiked by Rs 50 per cylinder — the first increase in rates in almost eight months — that came within days of end of polling in three northeastern states and was sharply criticised by the Opposition.
In Delhi, a 14.2-kg LPG cylinder now costs Rs 1,103, up from Rs 1,053, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the price of domestic cooking gas cylinder has been raised by Rs 50 and that of commercial gas cylinder by Rs 350 at a time when every person in the country is facing the brunt of high inflation.
“The public is asking – how to make Holi dishes now, for how long will these orders of loot continue? Every person is facing the brunt of back-breaking inflation implemented by (Narendra) Modi government,” Mr Kharge said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in “mitra kaal” the pockets of the public are being cut and those of “friends” being filled.
Comparing the price of LPG cylinders during the Congress’ tenure in 2014 and that of the BJP, he said while the price of a cylinder was Rs 410, the subsidy was of Rs 827, while under the BJP in 2023, the price of a LPG cylinder is Rs 1,103 and subsidy is nil.
“In the Congress era there was relief in the form of subsidy, during ‘mitra kaal’ only the pockets of the public are cut and the country’s wealth is distributed to ‘Mitra’ (friends) in charity,” Mr Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
Party spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said Prime Minister Modi has given a Holi “gift” to the people in the form of the LPG price hike.
If the Congress comes to power at the Centre, it would provide gas cylinders under Rs 500 on the lines of that provided by its government in Rajasthan, he said.
“If the Congress comes to power, the party pledges to provide domestic LPG cylinders at below Rs 500 as being provided by the Rajasthan government. PM Modi ji should draw lessons from the Congress government in Rajasthan and not loot the people of the country with high taxes,” Mr Vallabh told reporters.
He added that any hike in prices has a cascading effect on all articles.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the BJP government has again increased the prices of cylinders and this time just before Holi.
“Since 2014, the government has raised the price of cylinders by 275 per cent. The cylinder was Rs 400 in the Congress government, the Congress government of Rajasthan is providing cylinders for Rs 500. The prime minister should tell, then why is your government looting the public like this,” Priyanka Gandhi asked.
Senior Congress leader from Haryana Deepender Singh Hooda said instead of giving relief from inflation, this “arrogant government is inflicting economic pain on the common, poor and middle class at every step”.
“When gas cylinder’s cost was Rs 350 during the UPA government, BJP leaders had come on the streets with cylinders on their heads, their photos are still available on social media. Now even after the price of cylinder has crossed Rs 1,100, BJP leaders have gone on mute mode,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
He demanded the government withdraw the price hike immediately and said “when the Congress government comes to power, it will be ensured that (domestic) consumers do not have to pay more than Rs 500 for cooking gas (cylinder)”.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said the steep hike in price of LPG cylinders shows the “anti-common people mindset” of the BJP government at the Centre.
“The income of common people is decreasing, they are not getting employment, their savings are getting exhausted and the government is imposing burden, so that no one can lead a happy life,” Mr Warring said in a tweet in Hindi.
In the hike in prices, state-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) said Rs 1,103 was the rate for a 14.2-kg non-subsidised LPG cylinder.
The government doesn’t pay any subsidy to most non-Ujjwala users and this is the rate that they will have to pay for buying cooking gas refills.
The government pays Rs 200 per cylinder subsidy to the 9.58 crore poor who got free LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. The effective price for them would be Rs 903 per cylinder.
State-owned fuel retailers are supposed to revise rates on a monthly basis in line with cost but they have not done so since 2020 and were in October last year given a one-time grant of Rs 22,000 crore to make up for losses they incurred between June 2020 and June 2022.
They last revised domestic LPG price on July 4 last year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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