Bengaluru: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar, opposition leader Siddaramaiah and party’s state unit leaders courted arrest on Friday for protesting against fuel price hike.
“Police arrested Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah and our party’s other leaders when they were staging a protest demo against steep hike in fuel prices near a petrol station in the city,” said a party official in a statement.
As part of its nationwide 5-day protests under “100 Not Out Campaign”, the party’s state leaders, lawmakers and cadres staged demo at about 800 petrol stations in cities and towns across the southern state, holding banners and placards against the central and state governments for the steep hike in fuel prices over the months.
“The BJP-led NDA government raised fuel prices 48 times across the country since January even as citizens were suffering from the burden of inflation. The Centre has collected a whopping Rs 20.6-lakh crore by raising sales tax, excise duty, surcharge and cess on petrol and diesel over the last 7 years,” asserted the party.
Claiming that the opposition party had a duty to educate people against the exploitation by the government, Shivakumar said the rate at which the fuel prices were being increased, petrol would cost Rs 120 per litre in 2022, Rs 160 in 2023 and Rs 200 in 2024.
“Speak out before it’s too late,” tweeted Shivakumar, urging people to join the party in the protest against steel hike in fuel prices.
Siddaramaiah, who was the state chief minister from 2013-18, said by raising fuel prices, the government was rubbing salt on the wounded common man, who is already reeling under hardship caused by the Covid pandemic.
“Is this government not ashamed of sucking people’s blood? It’s acting like leech. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is deceiving people by giving false information,” thundered Siddaramaiah.
The state-run oil marketing firms have cumulatively increased retail price of petrol by Rs 25.72 per litre and diesel by Rs 23.93 per litre over the weeks amid the pandemic’s second wave across the country.
“The BJP-led NDA government has increased fuel prices 48 times over the last 5 months, including 10 times in January, 16 times in February and May and 6 times in the first 9 days of this month (June),” recalled Shivakumar.
Members of the party’s frontal wings, including Youth Congress, Mahila Congress, Kisan Congress, National Student Union of India (NSUI) and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) participated in the statewide protest.
The party will hold protests at taluk level on Saturday, at hoblis on Sunday, in gram panchayats on Monday and other places on Tuesday.