12-hour Bharat bandh today; ASDC extends support; 21 Opposition parties join protest against fuel price hike

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HT Bureau

DIPHU/GUWAHATI, Sept 9: Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) has extended its support to the 12-hour Bharat bandh call given by Congress to register their protest against hike in prices of petrol and diesel in the country.

“The ASDC have things to say if we happen to see at the past records of the Congress-I but at this point of time we will not point fingers but will keep the problems of the common people at the top agenda,” the ASDC said in a press release here on Sunday.

The opposition Congress, which has called for a nation-wide shut down on Monday over rising fuel prices and depreciation of the rupee, has appealed party workers to maintain peace and not to associate with any violent protests.

It said 21 opposition parties are supporting the Bharat bandh, besides a number of chambers of commerce and traders’ associations.

The party demanded that petrol and diesel should be brought under GST, by which oil prices could drop by about Rs 15 to Rs 18.

“We have no other option but to call for the bandh. Our president Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly urged the government to check the price hike. But the government has paid no heed,” All India Congress Committee (AICC general secretary and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat told reporters here Sunday.

Petrol and diesel prices set new records on Sunday. According to the price notification issued by state fuel retailers, petrol price was raised by 12 paise a litre and diesel by 10 paise per litre on Sunday.

Holding the BJP government responsible for the rise in petrol and diesel prices, Rawat alleged that it kept on raising excise duty on fuel even as international crude oil prices have come down.

“Between 2014 and now, excise duty on petrol has risen by 211.7 per cent and 433 per cent on diesel. The excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.2 per litre in 2014 and it has gone up to Rs 19.48 per litre. Similarly, the excise duty on diesel was Rs 3.46 per litre and today it stands at Rs 15.33 per litre,” he said.

The government has collected Rs 11 crore as excise duty by “burdening” people and “robbing them”, the Congress leader alleged. He said that he was “pained” to see that BJP’s national executive meeting here remained silent on the rising crude oil price issue and has not held any discussions on inflation or rupee depreciation, matters which are directly linked with the common man.

He also said the government has not yielded to the opposition’s demand for a Join Parliamentary Committee probe into the alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal.



Meanwhile, a rally was taken out by the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) at Fancy bazaar in Guwahati to register their protest against the fuel price hike. Former Uttarakhand chief minister and in-charge of APCC, Harish Rawat, APCC president and MP Ripun Bora, MP Bhubaneswar Kalita, former ministers Dr Bhumidhar barman and Sarat Barkataky took part in the rally.

Assam Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) took out a torch rally from Rajiv Bhawan on Sunday evening, where many senior leaders of the party took part.

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