BENGALURU: Congress and BJP are trading charges, and blame, over the rocketing prices of petrol and diesel, with the former vowing to make it a poll plank in the assembly polls. Ironically, fuel prices have inched downwards in the state capital over the past 3-4 days, giving rise to speculation that the Centre has asked oil marketing companies (OMCs) to stop the daily revision of prices till the Karnataka polls.
Petrol price in Bengaluru touched Rs 75.19 per litre on April 10, the highest ever price since Rs 76.06 in 2013. But it came down the next day to Rs 75.15 and remained the same on Thursday. On Friday, it dipped to Rs 75.12.
The crude oil prices (Brent), based on which fuel prices are revised daily, however, has gone up from $68.65 per barrel (day’s closing) on April 9 to $72.02 on April 12. Officials of the OMCs denied reports that the Centre had told them to keep fuel prices unchanged in the run-up to polls.
Meanwhile, Congress has launched an aggressive online campaign blaming the BJP-ruled Centre for the rise in prices. In its counter-attack, BJP has sought to put the blame back on Congress, highlighting the fact that the Siddaramaiah-led government did not heed petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s appeal to reduce local taxes on motor fuels by 5% when the central excise duty was cut by Rs 2 last October.
Soon the Congress online campaign picked up. “Since 2013, while Karnataka’s state tax on petrol has been reduced by 17 %, the central tax has increased by 80% from Rs 10.70 per litre to Rs 19.48. What is the rationale behind PM Modi taxing fuel so exorbitantly?” a Twitter post said.
“The BJP-led government seems to be behind the fuel prices remaining stagnant over the past few days. This is another jumla. There will be a big shock once the polls are over,” said KPCC social media chairman Srivatsa YB.
“When the crude oil price touched as high as $75 in October last year, the Centre reduced the central excise duty and asked the states to follow suit by reducing the local sales tax.