Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted a cartoon of yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Tuesday evening to take a swipe at the centre over soaring petrol and diesel prices.
The cartoon showed Baba Ramdev in a headstand pose at a fuel station, while looking at a placard with the text “Litre Rs 90” written on it. The image also contains a caption in Malayalam, which Mr Tharoor translated and posted with his tweet.
“If you took yoga lessons from Baba Ramdev, you too could seey petrol prices at 06 rupees a litre!” Mr Tharoor – who is the Lok Sabha MP for Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram – wrote.
If you took yoga lessons from BabaRamdev, you too could see petrol prices at 06 rupees a litre! pic.twitter.com/zatuS6t6cs
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) February 16, 2021
Petrol and diesel prices touched fresh all-time highs across the four metros on Tuesday, after oil marketing companies increased rates for an eighth straight day – this time by around 30 paise.
Petrol now costs between Rs 89.29 (Delhi) and Rs 95.75 (Mumbai) in metro cities.
Diesel costs between Rs 79.70 (Delhi) and Rs 86.72 (Mumbai).
In Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal, premium petrol touched Rs 100 per litre on February 14.
Fuel prices have recorded an upswing across India since January 6, after staying unchanged for almost a month. The increase comes amid a rally in global crude oil prices as countries carry out vaccination drives, and markets and businesses hope for a measure of pre-Covid normalcy.
Union Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan last week said that petrol and diesel prices were governed by an international price mechanism, and pointed out that “for almost 250 (of the past 300 days) the centre had not increased or decreased prices”.
Opposition leaders like Mr Tharoor however, have not been swayed.
On Monday a Congress leader in Odisha, dressed like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, went around Bhubaneswar in a bullock cart asking if petrol prices had decreased.
— Odisha Congress (@INCOdisha) February 15, 2021
Last week Samajwadi Party MP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad quipped in the Rajya Sabha: “Petrol is cheaper in Mother Sita’s land Nepal and Ravana’s land Lanka (but not in) the land of Ram.”
Faced with protests over the price hikes, two states have cut prices – Assam and Meghalaya.
Assam, where the BJP is bidding for re-election in a few weeks, cut prices by Rs 5 per litre last week. Meghalaya, which earlier cut prices by Rs 2 per litre, announced cuts of Rs 5.4 per litre Tuesday night.
Fuel prices vary from state to state depending on the incidence of local sales tax or VAT.
Petrol and diesel hikes have been accompanied by an increase in that of non-subsidised LPG cylinders, for which the Congress on Monday lashed out at “Narendra Modi’s ruthless and immoral government”. This was after the centre hiked the price of LPG cylinders in Delhi – a non-subsidised cylinder will now cost ₹ 769.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi criticised that hike, accusing the Modi government of “looting from the public”. He tweeted: “Janta se loot, sirf ‘doh’ ka vikaas” and tore into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas‘ – his mantra for inclusive development.