The Congress on Friday kicked off its protest against the rise in fuel prices in front of the petrol bunk in Shivananda Circle in Bengaluru. Led by its state president DK Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the protest under the "100 not out campaign" will continue for five days in all districts of Karnataka. Expressing concern over petrol price touching Rs 100 per litre in some districts, some of the protesters wore full cricket kits along with a bat and pad to drive home their point. At present the price in Bengaluru on June 11 is Rs 99.05 per litre. Other leaders who joined the protests at the same site included former ministers Dinesh Gundu Rao, Ramalinga Reddy and RV Deshpande among others. While others staged a protest at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Vidhana Soudha complex.
"Hundreds of our party leaders, lawmakers and cadres will stage protests at about 5,000 petrol stations in cities and towns across the state against the soaring fuel prices," Shivakumar had told reporters earlier on Thursday. "COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distance will be followed during the protest to ensure safety of all participants," he added Shivakumar.
Fuel prices differ from state to state depending on the incidence of local taxes such as VAT and freight charges over the union government price. Shivakumar noted that the NDA government has increased fuel prices 48 times over the last 5 months, including 10 times in January, 16 times in February and May and 6 times in the first 9 days of June.
"The BJP government at the Centre and in the state have betrayed the common man by increasing the retail price of petrol and diesel almost on every other day," said Siddaramaiah.
State-run oil marketing firms have cumulatively increased retail price of petrol by Rs 25.72 per litre and diesel by Rs 23.93 per litre over the weeks amid the pandemic's second wave across the country. Members of the opposition party's frontal wings, including Youth Congress, Mahila Congress, Kisan Congress, National Student Union of India (NSUI), and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) will participate in the protest.