As petrol prices crossed Rs.91/litres in Mumbai on Thursday, the Maharashtra Congress announced plans to ‘gherao’ the Nagpur Raj Bhavan on Jan. 16, to highlight the plight of the common people and the agitating farmers, a top leader said here.
State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the country is reeling under unprecedented hike in the prices of petrol, diesel, while lakhs of farmers are sitting in agitation outside Delhi in a never-witnessed-before opposition to the 3 farm laws.
“Since over 45 days, at least 60 farmers have lost their lives, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre remains insensitive to their plight. To awaken this ruthless and arrogant government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we shall ‘gherao’ the Nagpur Raj Bhavan on Saturday,” Thorat told mediapersons.
Explaining the impact of the rocketing fuel prices, the senior Minister said that like the farmers, even the common masses in the country are hit by the record hike in petrol, diesel and gas prices due to the policies of the BJP government.
“In the past six years, the BJP regime has hiked excise duty on petrol from Rs.9.20 per litre in May 2014 by 258 per cent to touch Rs.32.98 per litre now, and a similar 820 per cent hike of excise duty on diesel from Rs.3.46 per litre in May 2014 to Rs.28.37 per litre now. This is despite the fact that international crude oil prices have crashed by more than 50 per cent, from Rs.110 per barrel to Rs.50 per barrel,” Thorat pointed out.
By this, he alleged that the Modi Government has raked in a staggering profit of Rs.19-lakh-crore only from the frequent fuel price hikes.
He reiterated that the BJP-led government is only working for the interests of industrialists and corporate houses and looting the ordinary Indians to serve certain capitalists, through the farm laws and the fuel price hikes, and hence, the Congress shall observe Jan. 16 as “Farmers Rights Day”.
Thorat stated that the people of the country are “fed up with the BJP’s arbitrariness, trampling of the Constitution and democratic values with its policies like the 3 black farm laws and fuel hikes, and the agitation will continue till the laws are repealed.
ED quizzes Maharashtra Minister Vishwajeet Kadam’s wife
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is questioning Swapnali Bhosale, wife of Maharashtra Minister Vishwajeet Kadam in connection with its probe in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case, officials said.
According to senior ED officials, Swapnali joined the financial probe agency investigation on Monday afternoon at its office here.
The ED had summoned Bhosale in the last week of January.
The ED had earlier questioned her mother Gauri Bhosale and brother Amit Bhosale in February this year.
ED sources claimed that her father, a noted businessman of Pune and her family members had sent over Rs 50 crore to London and Dubai to buy some properties there.
Avinash Bhosale was questioned by the ED on November 27 last year for several hours in connection with an old case under the FEMA. The ED had registered a case against Avinash Bhosale under Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA).
Avinash Bhosale is also facing a probe by the Income Tax Department. Last year, the I-T Department had carried out searches at 23 locations in Mumbai and Pune.
Maharashtra Congress ministers protest high fuel prices on bicycles
Adopting a unique approach to highlight the spiralling fuel prices, all Congress Ministers and legislators on Monday took to the roads on bicycles and furiously pedalled to the Maharashtra Legislature on the opening day of the Budget Session, here.
Leading the bicycle rally, state Congress President Nana Patole and city party chief Bhai Jagtap attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre of “looting” the hard-earned money of the people by hiking taxes on fuel which have resulted in zooming prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.
“The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made life difficult for the people. Though the prices of crude oil in the international markets is at a record low, the Centre is fleecing the masses by the taxes on fuel,” Patole said.
He said that excluding taxes, petrol costs around Rs 32.72 per litre and diesel Rs 33.46 per litre, but the Centre has imposed excise duties of 820 and 258 per cent respectively which has shot the prices of the two essential fuels to the current exorbitant levels.
Similarly, Jagtap said that the Modi government has “crossed all limits of shamelessness” by another hike of Rs 25 in the price of cooking gas (LPG) to now Rs 825 per cylinder which has created huge distress to the ordinary masses.
Besides, Patole and Jagtap said that Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan rubbed salt on the wounds of the people by claiming that the fuel price hike was due to the winter season.
Demanding that the Central taxes on fuel be rolled back, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that the BJP leaders screaming hoarse over the fuel prices hike before 2014, “but today, these same leaders are looting the people blatantly with daily price hikes”.
“The Modi government is deaf and blind to the pain and sufferings of the people. Through this bicycle rally, we are conveying the people’s distress to the Centre and demand that the fuel taxes be removed forthwith,” Thorat said.
After paying homage to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in south Mumbai, majority of the Congress ministers in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and almost all MLAs and MLCs joined the bicycle rally to the Vidhan Bhavan.
Maharashtra: MPCC expanded, Sanjay Nirupam bounces back
Three weeks after Congress President Sonia Gandhi reshuffled the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), four new vice-presidents and 3 additional Parliamentary Board members were appointed, here on Friday.
They are: Nana Gavande, Sachin Naik, Sanjay Rathod and Charulatha Tokas (MPCC Vice-Presidents), while Eknath Gaikwad, Sanjay Nirupam and Janardhan Chandurkar — all three ex-Mumbai Regional Congress Committee presidents – are named new Members of MPCC Parliamentary Board.
Sulking for nearly two years after he was removed as MRCC President in March 2019, the formidable Nirupam has apparently bounced back into favour with the party.
He had not campaigned for the party in the 2019 parliament and Assembly elections and had lost the Lok Sabha elections to Mumbai North-West constituency to Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar.
The expansion comes three weeks after the party appointed Nana F. Patole, 57, as the new MPCC President, replacing Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat.
Besides Patole, the Congress named 6 Working Presidents, 10 Vice-Presidents and a jumbo 37-member Parliamentary Board in a widespread rejig of the party apparatus ahead of the crucial elections to various major civic bodies early next year, including BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.
The 6 Working Presidents include leaders like Shivajirao Moghe, Basavaraj Patil, M. Arif Naseem Khan, Kunal Rohidas Patil, Chandrakant Handore and Pranati Sushilkumar Shinde.
The 10 Vice-Presidents are: Shirish Madhukarrao Chaudhari, Ramesh A. Bagwe, Hussain Dalwai, Mohan Joshi, Ranjit P. Kamble, Kailash K. Gorantyal, B. I. Nagrale, Sharad Aher, M. M. Shaikh, Manik M. Jagtap, and with 3 more – Nana Gavande, Sachin Naik, Sanjay Rathod and Charulatha Tokas – joining them, the strength has gone up to 14.
With the 3 latest additions – all senior leaders who have been former MPs or legislators – the strength of the 37-member Parliamentary Board has now gone up from 37 to 40.
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