No Role In Fuel Prices, Says BJP Amid Nationwide Bandh Protests
NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today launched a sharp attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government as more than 20 opposition parties supported an all-India strike over rising fuel prices. Accusing the government of spreading hatred and dividing the nation, Mr Gandhi said, “The youth of the country are tired”. While the government maintained the fuel price rise is “out of our hands” in view of rising prices of crude oil, BJP chief Amit Shah held a meeting with oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Violence was reported from some pockets – including Gujarat and Bihar — as protesters tried to enforce the day-long Bharat Bandh.
- Rahul Gandhi was joined by his mother Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh at Delhi’s Ramlila grounds. Taking a dig at PM Modi, Mr Gandhi said the prime minister’s claim that what happened in the last four years of his rule has not happened in 70 years is actually true. “Hatred is being spread, one Indian is fighting the other, the country is being divided,” he said
- “Diesel, petrol price rise is out of our hands because oil producing countries have limited production… We’re not saying we can’t do anything. The BJP strongly believes that despite some momentary difficulties, the people of India do not support this protest,” union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
- Twenty-two opposition parties are participating in the Bharat Bandh — the exception being Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. Top opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar, MK Stalin and Left leaders have supported the strike, the effect of which was especially evident in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala and Bihar.
- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announced a cut in state tax for fuel today, which will bring the prices down by Rs. 2. A similar cut was announced yesterday by the BJP government in Rajasthan, where elections will be held later this year.
- Violence was reported from some states. In parts of Gujarat’s Bharuch, protesters burnt tyres and forced shops to close. In Bihar capital Patna, Jan Adhikar Party workers vandalised vehicles. In Maharashtra’s Pune, the police arrested six workers of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena who were trying to close shops forcibly. The Congress said it has urged party workers not to indulge in any violent protest.
- Schools and colleges remained closed in Bengaluru as Karnataka’s ruling Janata Dal Secular, which is in alliance with the Congress, said it would support the day-long protest. Schools in Odisha too are closed, though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s party has refused to back the shutdown.
- Uber and Ola drivers groups, Auto Drivers’ Association and other organisations such as Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, KSRTC, BMTC joined the Bharat Bandh in Karnataka.
- Train and road traffic were affected in many parts of Bihar. Over a dozen long distance trains had to be stopped at Patna, Gaya, Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur railway stations.
- The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal expressed support on the issues on which the shutdown has been called, but said it was against any kind of strike in the state according to the stated policy of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
- The price of petrol has been spiralling with the rising price of crude oil following US sanctions on Iran and the slide of rupee against the dollar. Petrol has touched an all-time high of Rs. 88 in Maharashtra. In one pocket of the state, Pharbani, it has touched Rs. 89.97. News Credit -NDTV