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Congress to Organise Bharat Bandh Against Fuel 'Loot' on September 10
 
(New Delhi, Sep 06, 2018):The Congress will organise a nationwide protest on September 10 over rising fuel prices, party leaders announced Thursday and asked other opposition parties and civil society groups to join the shutdown against the central government.

Announcing the decision at a press conference, Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot, Ahmed Patel, Motilal Vora, Mallikarjun Kharge and Randeep Singh Surjewala said the common man was bearing the brunt of escalating prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas as well as of other essential commodities.

"The Congress party has decided that we will give a call for Bharat Bandh on September 10, Monday, in order to highlight the Rs 11 lakh crore fuel loot, to demand that there should be immediate reduction in central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states, and that petrol and diesel be brought within GST so that the common man whose budget has gone haywire, they are provided the requisite relief," Surjewala told reporters.

Gehlot said, "The Congress will appeal to all other opposition parties to support the bandh and participate in symbolic dharnas outside petrol pumps across the country".

Patel said Congress leaders have talked to the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and others, who have extended their support to the Congress on the issue.

On Trinamool Congress, he said the party has agreed to support but won't give a call for bandh as they are in government.

"Most of the opposition parties have given their consent to support, but still consultations is going on with three or four parties. BSP, still we have not consulted. As far TMC is concerned, they have agreed for the agitation but they will not give the bandh call," he said.

Surjewala said on May 16, 2014, when the Congress Party demitted power, international crude oil prices were far higher at around USD 106 per barrel and petrol price was Rs 71.41 and diesel at Rs 55.49 per litre.

In comparison, he said, the present international prices of crude oil are around 73-77 USD per barrel. However, he added, petrol is now at Rs 79.31 and diesel at Rs 71.34, which is "unprecedented".

"Modi Ji has collected Rs 11 lakh crore in taxes... And has consequently fleeced the common person of this country. Excise duty on petrol since May 2014 has been increased by 211 per cent. Excise duty on diesel since May 2014 has been increased by 443 per cent, Surjewala said.

"This is unprecedented. Yet, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chooses to remain mum as prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas are burning a hole in the pocket of common man," he said.

He said bringing petrol and diesel within the ambit of GST will reduce their prices by Rs 10-15 a litre.

"The rupee is getting devalued every day. 10 per cent is the loss in value of rupee in last one year, it is the most devalued currency in Asia, but neither the prime minister nor the finance minister are worried about it," he claimed.

The Congress leader said the 'Bandh' will be between 9 AM to 2.30-3 PM so that the common person is not inconvenienced.


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