Ruling BJP justifies diesel price hike

Ruling BJP justifies diesel price hike

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had vehemently criticised the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the hike in diesel prices during its regime, is justifying it days after coming to power.

"We don't want to take any step which will send a negative signal to investors. Don't see things in isolation. Today, the diesel price for bulk consumption has also decreased by 1.24 paisa. We are also responsible towards welfare of the people," Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told a news channel on Sunday. He defended his department’s move to allow an increase in diesel price by 50 paise per litre, saying the priority was to bring the economy back on track.

"We have reached a stage to reduce diesel price up to Rs 1.24 in bulk consumption. This has happened due to the strengthening of the Rupee under Narendra Modi's government. This is ‘achhe din’ (good days)," Pradhan maintained, rejecting critics of the BJP’s poll promise of bringing ‘good days’ in the country. 

Diesel prices were hiked by 50 paise a litre, excluding state levies, on Saturday in the second increase in rates in three weeks. 

The monthly hike in the prices came after the new Oil Minister held several rounds of discussion with the state-owned oil firms on continuing with the reforms initiated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

The announcement of the hike is a clear indication that the National Democratic Alliance government will continue with the reforms brought by the previous Congress regime, even though the BJP was at the forefront in criticising the hike in diesel price when it was the principal Opposition party during UPA regime.

In January 2013, the UPA had decided to raise diesel prices in small doses of up to 50 paise every month till such time that the subsidy on the nation's most consumed fuel is eliminated. 

The BJP leaders had then staged protests over the UPA Government's move to de-regulate the diesel price, demanding a rollback.

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