Karnataka Assembly elections 2018: Does PM Narendra Modi care for middle classes and poor, Siddaramaiah questions Centre over rising fuel prices

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said the government is keeping a close eye on international prices. 

Karnataka Assembly elections 2018: Does PM Narendra Modi care for middle classes and poor, Siddaramaiah questions Centre over rising fuel prices

On a day when the diesel rates touched an all-time high while the petrol prices reached 4-year high, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah questioned the Central government over the rising prices. Asking if Prime Minister Narendra Modi cared for the middle class and poor, he tweeted: "When crude oil price was above $100/barrel before 2014, the BJP was protesting against high Petrol/Diesel prices. Since 2014, crude prices have fallen: now the price is $68/barrel. Yet, why do Petrol/Diesel prices in India keep rising?"

Earlier on Monday, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had dubbed the Centre as "anti-poor" and "anti-middle class" as fuel prices are rising. The former finance minister asked, "Why are petrol and diesel prices today higher than prices in May 2014? The BJP government is anti-poor and anti-middle class. These are the sections that have to bear the burden of high petrol and diesel prices," he had said.

"BJP government believes in two things (1) Cruel Taxation and (2) Imprudent Borrowing. Thank god this is the last year of the present government," he said in a series of tweets.

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said: "Modi's previous tweets on petrol-diesel prices now mock us in the face and serve as a constant reminder that one should never trust the BJP and its tall promises. Post May 26, 2014, international crude oil prices have come down by more than 30 per cent. BJP government earned a windfall of Rs. 7.35 lakh crore by levying various central taxes on petrol/diesel (till the Q2 of 2017-18). Where has the money gone?"

On Tuesday, the petrol prices hit a fresh 4-year high of Rs 73.95 a litre while diesel rates touched an all-time high of Rs 64.82 in the national capital. The hike in fuel prices have stoked fresh demands for the government to cut excise tax rates. However, the government has ruled out any immediate reduction in excise duty to cushion relentless rise in international oil prices that have sent retail diesel rates in India to record high and petrol to a four-year high. 

Petrol in the national capital now costs Rs 73.95 a litre, the highest since September 14, 2014 when rates had hit Rs 76.06. Diesel price at Rs 64.69 is the highest ever, with previous high of Rs 64.82 being on February 7, 2018. On Monday Petrol in the national capital was at Rs 73.83 while diesel prices were at Rs 64.69.

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said the government is keeping a close eye on international prices and said that consumers will benefit if petrol and diesel are brought under Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime at the earliest. 

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