- "Cut down on other expenses," says Rajasthan minister Rajkumar Rinwa
- Reacting to this, Sachin Pilot says BJP is insensitive to needs of people
- Nearly two dozen parties are holding all-India strike to flag fuel prices
A minister in Vasundhara Raje's cabinet has come up with an unbeatable plan to deal with the fuel price hike - one that the people should implement. "Cut down on other expenses, lower expenditure," says Rajkumar Rinwa, who handles the pilgrim sites portfolio.
"Fuel prices are tied to crude oil prices in the world market.... People don't understand that the crude prices are high and they should lower other expenses," the minister told reporters today.
Nearly two dozen opposition parties are holding an all-India strike to flag the fuel prices as petrol touched an all-time high of Rs 88 in Maharashtra. Karnataka is on a complete shutdown. The strike has also hit some other states, including Maharashtra, Kerala and Bihar.
In Rajasthan, hours before the opposition-backed shutdown, the BJP government announced tax cuts on petrol and diesel, which led to prices falling by Rs. 2 per litre.
Regarding the minister's statement, senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot said, "Such remarks from BJP leadership tell you they are very arrogant, they are insensitive to the needs of people. When people are suffering, they are making it worse by such outlandish statements."
Oil prices are tied to the cost of crude oil in international market. Retail prices are set after the Centre and the states add substantial excise duty. A reduction can happen only if either excise duty is reduced -- in which case the Centre and state governments bear the loss. Else the loss can be passed on to oil firms.
The BJP maintains the hike in fuel prices in due to the rise in the price of crude oil, following US sanctions on Iran.
Today, Union minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "Diesel, petrol price rise is out of our hands because oil producing countries have limited production... We're not saying we can't do anything. We're saying this is a momentary trouble".