New Delhi, Sep 9: The Congress on Sunday called for a 'Bharat Bandh' on Monday to protest against the steep rise in diesel and petrol prices and the falling value of the rupee against the dollar. Bharat Bandh Tomorrow: MNS to 'Actively Support' Opposition's Shutdown Against Narendra Modi Govt, Says Raj Thackeray.
Congress leader Ajay Maken said the party wants petrol and diesel to be brought under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which would decrease the price by Rs 15-18. Bharat Bandh on September 10: After SP, NCP and DMK, MDMK Extends Support to Congress' Call for Nation-wide Protest Over Rising Fuel Prices.
He said there should be an immediate reduction in central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states.
About 20 political parties are participating in the protest, Maken told the media.
He said the Centre had earned Rs 11 lakh crore in the last four years through excise duty on fuel and this money was taken from the common man to fill the government's coffers.
Meanwhile, CPI leader D Raja said the nationwide shutdown was called for in order to ensure action from the government's side.
"Parties in opposition have given a nationwide bandh call and there will be a convergence of protest across the country on the same issue of hike in fuel price and the increase in prices of other commodities. People are suffering but the Bharatiya Janata Party is insensitive and the Prime Minister has also not spoken once on the issue. That's why the bandh has been called," he added.
However, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), led by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has refrained from extending support to the bandh.
"The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been fighting against the price rise of petrol and diesel in the country and it is not for the first time that the country has seen such hike in fuel price. We are neither supporting nor opposing the Bharat Bandh" said Sasmit Patra, BJD spokesperson.
On September 6, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot had called for a nationwide strike against the Narendra Modi-led government over the constant rise in fuel prices and depreciation of Indian Rupee against the US Dollar. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), among others, have extended support to the nationwide shutdown.