Congress leader Jairam Ramesh irked over question on diesel price hike in Himachal

On January 10, Congress MP and General Secretary in charge of Communications, Jairam Ramesh, avoided commenting on the fuel price after increasing diesel prices in Himachal Pradesh. At a Press Conference during Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY), Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Bhupinder Singh Hooda addressed the media and answered a few questions. However, when a journalist asked about the diesel price hike in Himachal Pradesh, Ramesh got irritated and asked the journalist to question Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister.

The journalist asked, “You talk about the increasing price of petrol and diesel. However, after your government came to power in Himachal Pradesh, the diesel price was increased by Rs 3.” Jairam Ramesh was apparently confused as he could not understand what the journalist was asking. He said, “But what is your question?”

The journalist explained and said, “Sir, you are against inflation, but your government has increased diesel prices by Rs 3. Will it not cause inflation?” Ramesh got irked by the question and said, “Then ask our Chief Minister. Why are you asking me.”

Diesel price hike in Himachal Pradesh

On Sunday, January 8, the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh increased the value-added tax (VAT) on diesel from 6.40 per cent to 9.96 per cent per litre. With an increased VAT, diesel prices would surge by 3 rupees per litre. Earlier, the VAT on diesel was Rs 4.40 per litre, however, after the Congress government’s decision, it would go up to Rs 7.40 per litre.

The newly-elected Congress government has forgotten its pre-poll promise that the Congress party if voted to power, will not increase fuel prices in the state.

Ahead of assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress party had promised multiple freebies to the people of Himachal Pradesh if voted to power. Some of the freebies promised by Congress included 300 units of free electricity to household consumers and financial assistance of Rs 1500 per month to all women aged between 18 and 60.

When asked by the media about the availability of funds to provide for the freebies announced, Congress party’s election observer for Himachal Pradesh, Bhupesh Baghel, said that the Congress party would make arrangements for it in the same way as it has been doing in other party-ruled states. He added that his party would not increase petrol and diesel prices for the same.

“We will make arrangements in the same way that other party-ruled states do. It will not be accomplished by raising the prices of petrol and diesel, as the incumbent government has done”, Baghel said.

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