Chandigarh: Criticising the fresh hike in petrol prices, the Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that the Congress-led UPA government intends to "punish" the middle class, which has handed it "defeats in various elections".

The UPA has given a "free-hand" to multi-national oil firms, which are busy in "robbing" the common man, party president Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged.

"If it is the multi-national companies which will decide on the prices, why do we need a government at the Centre?" Badal said, noting that by hiking prices a day after the general budget, government has made a mockery of budget process.

He demanded an immediate rollback of the hike, alleging that the decision was taken without taking the Parliament into confidence. In a second major increase in as many weeks, the prices of petrol were hiked today by Rs 1.40 per litre.
As the hike excludes local sales tax or VAT, the effective increase in prices is set to be higher. Reacting to the hike, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today alleged that the hike solely aimed at providing "undue benefits" to big oil companies at the cost of common man's interests.

Expressing surprise at the hike coming within a day of presentation of general budget in the Parliament, Badal said the increase has exposed the anti-people face of the Congress. Claiming that the common man was suffering due to the faulty policies of the UPA government, Badal asked the Centre to consult Chief Ministers of all states before any further hike in future.


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