Centre Vs Oppn War Escalates As Hardeep Puri Says Fuel Price Hike Lowest Under Modi Regime

New Delhi: Union Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday once again slammed the Opposition and said that the VAT charged by Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states on fuel is half the amount charged by non-BJP ruled states, adding that there is a difference of Rs 15 to Rs 20 in retail prices of petrol between the two dispensation.

“BJP states are charging VAT half the amount of what non-BJP states are doing…There’s a difference of Rs15-Rs20 in retail prices of petrol between BJP & non-BJP states,” Puri said while speaking to news agency ANI.

Speaking on the issue of Opposition’s demand to bring petrol and diesel under GST, Puri said that Centre would be happy to do so, but states are not willing. 

“My understanding is Center would be happy in bringing petro and diesel under GST. The fact of matter is states are not willing for same. They make a killing from revenues of petrol, diesel and alcohol…when debt rises they blame others. Punjab is case in example,” he said.

Furthermore, the senior BJP leader claimed that fuel price hiked under PM Modi’s regime is the lowest. “It’s 30 per cent and not 80 per cent, basic salaries have increased over decades. Along with that, government is giving free schemes to people under various categories,” he said.

Justifying the hike in fuel prices, Puri factored-in issues such as Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines and the Russia-Ukraine war. 

“We are yet to recover from pandemic, government is still feeding 80 crore people and even looking after Covid vaccines. There was military action in Ukraine. Oil prices went up from $19.56/barrel to $130. Center has charged Rs 32 excise on petrol-diesel, before Diwali we reduced it and rates went down,” the minister noted.

Puri’s reaction came on the backdrop of political slugfest over Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging higher fuel prices in many Opposition-ruled states earlier this week, prompting his opponents to launch a fresh offensive against him. Several opposition Chief Ministers launched slammed the Prime Minister on the issue of tax cuts on petroleum products. 

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