‘Fuel price rise out of our hands’, BJP defends amid Bharat Bandh protests

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New Delhi: The Congress has called for a nationwide shutdown or Bharat Bandh on Monday to protest rising fuel prices and depreciation of the rupee.

At least 21 opposition parties are joining the Congress in protest on Monday to corner Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the Centre.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi gave clarion call from Raj Ghat after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

Apart from other opposition parties, the Congress has asked civil society groups to join their protest against the government. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala had said that the common man was bearing the burden of escalating prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.

The Congress demanded that petrol and diesel should be brought under the ambit of goods and services tax (GST), by which oil prices could drop by about Rs 15 to Rs 18.

On Monday, petrol is sold Rs 80.73 per litre (increase by Rs 0.23 per litre) and diesel at Rs 72.83 per litre (increase by Rs 0.22 per litre) in Delhi.

Petrol was priced at Rs 88.12 per litre (increase by Rs 0.23 per litre) and diesel at Rs 77.32 per litre (increase by Rs 0.23 per litre) in Mumbai on Monday, the day Congress called Bharat Bandh over rise in fuel prices.

The rupee weakened to hit a fresh low of 72.64 against the US currency, falling 91 paise in late morning deals on Monday on rising crude oil prices, strengthening dollar and a widened current account deficit.

Here are LIVE updates from the Bharat Bandh over surging fuel prices:

03:44 pm: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announces a reduction in petrol and diesel price by Rs 2 each, in the state. The new rates of petrol and diesel will come into effect from tomorrow morning and orders for the same will be issued later today.

03:30 pm: “Such remarks from BJP leadership tell you they are very arrogant, they are insensitive to the needs of people. When people are suffering, they are making it worse by such outlandish statements,” Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Rajasthan Minister Rajkumar Rinwa’s statement.

03:25 pm: Pune Police arrests six Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers who were trying to forcefully close shops in the city.

02:30 pm: “Fuel prices are tied to crude oil prices in the world market. Government is trying. There are so many expenses… People don’t understand that the crude prices are high and they should lower their other expenses,” Rajasthan minister Rajkumar Rinwa told reporters.

12:57 pm: “The death of the child is not related to bandh or traffic jam, the relatives had left late from their home,” SDO Jehanabad Paritosh Kumar on reports that a 2-year-old patient died after the vehicle was stuck in Bharat Bandhprotests called by the Congress and other opposition parties over rise in fuel prices.

12:46 pm: “Everyone has a right to protest but what is happening today? Petrol pumps and buses being set ablaze, putting to risk lives. A child died after an ambulance was stuck in the protests in Bihar’s Jehanabad. Who is responsible?,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on protests and nation-wide shutdown called by the Congress and other opposition parties over rise in fuel prices.

“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. We’re saying this is momentary trouble,” Ravi Shankar Prasad added.

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