Meranews, Gandhinagar: The Gujarat unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will hold statewide protests against the rise in prices of commodities during the three years that the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been in power at the Centre.
To highlight the issue of high fuel prices, AAP workers will push scooters and motorcycles at rallies in Gujarat as well as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab on Friday.
According to a statement from the AAP, the intent of the rallies is voice people’s anger against high fuel prices. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign promised that, ‘Bahut hui mehgai ki maar, abki baar Modi sarkar’, and people voted him to power. The common man had high hopes from him that prices will come down, but on the contrary they have skyrocketed. Despite international crude prices going down to less than half, fuel prices (in India) have stepped up,” the AAP said.
The party further said in its statement that besides the prices of fuel, prices of essential commodities such as onions, tomatoes, pulses and vegetables have also increased. “All this is due to immense corruption, black marketing and hoarding that have been during the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) reign.”
The BJP heads the NDA government at the Centre.
The AAP announced its protests on the same day that Gujarat’s deputy chief minister, Nitin Patel, ruled out any reduction in the taxes levied on fuel, while also referring to the absence of revenue earned from liquor on account of Gujarat’s prohibition policy.
“There are many states which earn revenues through liquor. Gujarat does not earn such revenues nor does it want to. Also since many years, we have not hiked the taxes levied on fuel,” Patel said, adding: “We will be following the central government’s stand on fuel pricing.”
“I totally agree with the minister as far as revenue loss in the state is concerned. But the question is: is the prohibition policy really being implemented in the state, which seems to be just on paper. In fact, the illicit liquor business in the state is massive compared to the resources spent by the government on maintaining prohibition,” said Y.K. Alagh, professor emeritus and vice-chair at the Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research in Ahmedabad.
“About the fuel price hike, what I cannot understand is that despite the government announcing that it will be following the day-to-day changes in international fuel prices, why is it being done only when prices rise internationally and not when they fall? I don’t understand the logic behind this. The government should be transparent on this,” he added.
Also on Thursday, former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel referred to consumption of liquor in the state and the inadequate implementation of prohibition laws.
At an event where she addressed the wives of construction workers and labourers, Anandiben Patel said, “Everybody knows what is being drunk freely in the state. This liquor is finishing construction labourers (lives).”