MUMBAI: Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat on Saturday criticised the Centre for hike in excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3 per litre and said the "suit-boot Modi government" was looting the people.
He said fuel was costly despite "historic reduction in crude oil prices" and demanded that the Centre roll back the hike immediately.
Since the last two months there has been a gradual reduction in crude oil prices in the international market and currently the rates have gone down by 35 dollar per barrel.
"Despite crude oil prices dropping significantly in the international market, the 'suit-boot' Narendra Modi government continues to loot the common public by not passing on the relief. Rather, it has increased per litre excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 3," Thorat, also state revenue minister, said.
He said the reduction in crude prices was the most significant since 1991.
"This (hike) will further pinch the pockets of the common man who is battling inflation. If petrol, diesel prices are reduced it will help bring down inflation," he said.
During the Manmohan Singh government the per barrel price of crude oil had peaked at 143 dollar and then stabilised at 120 dollar and per litre petrol prices were Rs 73, and the BJP had launched an agitation at the time, he said.
"Today the petrol rate is Rs 75 per litre. Considering the reduction in crude oil prices, petrol prices can be reduced by at least Rs 10. But the BJP government doesn't possess the mentality to help people," Thorat said.
The Narendra Modi government had, between November 2014 and January 2016, raised excise on petrol and diesel nine times, NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said.