Global factors behind oil hike, people understand govt not responsible, says Ravi Shankar Prasad.
New Delhi: Attributing the hikes in oil prices to global factors, the BJP on Monday accused the Congress and other Opposition parties of resorting to violence during the
Bharat Bandh on Monday and claimed that the people did not support their call. While admiting that the people were facing a “momentary difficulty” due to increasing petrol and diesel prices, the BJP claimed they understand this was due to factors beyond the control of the Central government.
Noting oil prices had fallen after the BJP government had come to power in May 2014, before they went up again, senior Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was a problem whose solution was not in its hands. “We are standing with the people in their problem. We are trying to redress the issue and will do that,” he said. He claimed the people understood the government’s point of view and refused to support the Bharat Bandh call given by the Congress and several other Opposition parties.
“That is unnerving the Congress and other Opposition parties. Their resort to violence is designed to overawe the people of India. An atmosphere of fear is being created,” he said. Citing the death of a three-year-old girl in Bihar as she could not get medical help in time due to pro-bandh protesters allegedly stopping an ambulance, he asked if Congress president Rahul Gandhi will take responsibility for this. Hitting out at the Congress and other Opposition parties, Mr Prasad said they should stop this “dance of violence and game of death”.
In an attempt to show that the revenue it has earned from taxes on petroleum products has been used for “pro-poor” measures, the BJP highlighted the government’s expenditure on a number of welfare schemes.
Mr Prasad said the government spends over Rs 1.62 lakh crores on subsidised food, lakhs of crores of rupees on building national highways and rural roads, and has given over one crore houses to the rural poor. It has also spent thousands of crores on the rural employment guarantee scheme, among others, he said.
Taking a dig at the Congress, the BJP said that the Narendra Modi government was not a “family-run” dispensation and asserted that it has been working for the poor and had lifted over five crore people from extreme poverty. The ruling party also dismissed allegations by Mr Gandhi against the government, saying the country was most worried when the Congress president speaks.
Referring to the global factors behind the oil price rise, Mr Prasad cited the decision of several oil-producing countries to reduce supply, the political instability in Venezuela and the US sanctions on Iran.