The Punjab and Haryana units of Congress on Monday held a statewide protest against the fuel price hike by the BJP-led Centre, asserting that it has dealt a major blow to the farming community.
The agitating Congress leaders and workers rode horse carts with their scooters loaded on them and pulled tractors with ropes as a mark of protest against the fuel price hike and demanded from the Centre to roll back the same.
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar led the protest against fuel price hike at Nawanshahr district and slammed the Centre for raising the fuel prices repeatedly every few days despite the international crude oil prices remaining low. Jakhar along with MLA Angad Saini, Punjab Youth Congress chief Barinder Dhillon and other local leaders pulled a tractor with ropes there. Jakhar said the continuous hike in diesel rates has put an additional financial burden on the farming community, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In Haryana, protests were held across the state, including Karnal, Rohtak, Yamunanagar, Faridabad, Sirsa and other places.
Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja led the protest in Karnal, which is Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's home constituency.
She said despite international crude oil prices being at their lowest, the Centre, instead of passing on the benefits to the common people by lowering the prices, is constantly hiking fuel prices.
Selja said when the Congress-led UPA was in power, relief was given to people even though international crude oil prices were soaring while the Modi Government has been raising petrol and diesel prices, burdening the common people and the farmers already facing hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She said the rise in fuel prices has affected every section of society, including farmers, common citizens, transport sector and the middle class. "The Centre has repeatedly been hiking prices for the past three weeks. If this hike continues, it will lead to inflation, transport will be costly, the economy which is already in bad shape will further deteriorate.
Hitting out at the Centre, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said every section, including the farmers have been hit hard by the hike in fuel prices. "This government talked about doubling the income of farmers by 2022, but now it seems they are going to double the input cost of the farmers by then," Hooda, who is Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, said. He said prices of petrol and diesel are nearly Rs 80 per litre despite international crude oil prices being very low.