Exclusive

Fuel price hike: Sitharaman blames it on global situation, as an opposition ‘mukt’ nation watches silently

'Global situation’ behind fuel price hike, people must understand, says FM, while an opposition ‘mukt’ nation watches

By D.N. Singh

All must keep their mouths shut and reconcile with what is being given to them. This is what the essence comes out of the enduring silence post the announcement of cess imposed on petrol and diesel.

Not a murmur even from any one in politics, no demonstrations to protest it and a stymied national media puts questions of very benign nature and remains muted by an ambiguous answer from the central government.

If there was any protest, then it was from a Union minister from the NDA government itself, Ramdas Athawale, who has demanded a review on the fuel price hike. And it was also the lone voice of Athawale, which was raised in NDA’s previous regime when he had reportedly said over a fuel price hike, then, that, the filling stations did not charge him money for the fuel for his vehicle but the “government must think about the poor that constitute the majority”.

The Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman answering a question on the fuel price hike at a press briefing soon after placing the Budget had said that it was about the ‘global situation all must understand’  and importantly, she said that there was no GST on petrol and diesel. No counter questions after that.

If one raises a banner or question the NDA, let alone the Budget, you may be branded as ‘insensitive’. One wonders, was it so when Manmohan Singh was the prime minister! No. There were several demonstrations all over and if one’s memory serves right, then the streets of Bhubaneswar and in many cities in Odisha were laid to siege by the Biju Janata Dal itself and subsequently by the Bharatiya Janata Party protesting against the fuel price hikes. Now, all of them have shuffled to a pose of meditation of acquiescence.

A farmer in the interior who runs his water pump or tiller  with diesel or petrol is not supposed to understand the global situation. Politicians are silent, media seems sporting innocuous smiles to cold hearted answers from the finance minister and an invertebrate middle class has no opinion of itself other than genuflecting before the decisions.

The country is required to march ahead with developmental activities like construction of roads and bridges in addition to infrastructures for a ‘New India’ after all and the nation is expected to understand that someone has to pay for that.