Riding bullock carts, horse carts and bicycles, Congress leaders and workers took to the streets on Monday in country-wide protests against the fuel price hike and accused the Centre of adding to the financial hardships of the people reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Scores of mask-wearing protesters were detained by police for violating coronavirus lockdown restrictions related to assembly of people. In Congress-ruled states like Rajasthan and Maharashtra, the ministers too joined the demonstrations.
Participating in the Congress’ ‘Speak Up Against Fuel Hike’ campaign across the country, party president Sonia Gandhi accused the BJP-led central government of setting “a new example of extortion”, and sought an immediate rollback.
Party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also took part in the campaign on social media, and urged the people to join them in pressing the government to reduce fuel prices.
Diesel price has been hiked 22 times and petrol price has been raised 21 times since June 7 with a cumulative increase of Rs 11.14 and Rs 9.17 respectively.
“I, along with all Congressmen and others together, demand from the Modi government to immediately roll back the increase in prices of petrol and diesel raised during this crisis due to the corona pandemic,” Sonia Gandhi said in a video message.
AICC General Secretary Harish Rawat rode a bullock cart in Dehradun during the protest and performed puja at a Shiva temple praying for “good sense” to prevail on the central government.
Several Congress ministers in Maharashtra, including BalasahebThorat, Ashok Chavan and NitinRaut, staged a protest at the party office in Mumbai.
Protests were held by the Congress across Haryana, including Karnal, Rohtak, Yamunanagar, Faridabad and Sirsa.