Bengal CM marches in Siliguri to protest runaway LPG and fuel price hikes


SMRITA KHAWAS

Darjeeling, 07 Mar: In an irony that could not be missed, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

marched on foot in Siliguri today to protest the runaway hike in LPG and fuel prices while supporters

in the thousands were bussed and trucked in to Brigade Ground in Kolkata where Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a BJP campaign rally. It is no secret that vehicular travel and even “gas cooking” have become expensive indulgences which the lay people are finding difficult to budget especially since inflation is picking up, earnings are scarce and jobs vanishing. In Siliguri on Sunday, the

Bengal CM led a “padyatra” of thousands of supporters, many of them, including the CM, holding cardboard replicas of LPG cylinders and condemning the BJP Govt’s penchant to promise one thing, do something else and claim the opposite. Non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices were

most recently hiked by Rs 25 on 01 March, 2021. In February 2021, LPG prices were hiked almost

three times. The hike in LPG cooking gas rates comes at a time when the prices of petrol and diesel

have touched all-time highs and petrol is Rs 100 a litre in some cities. Explaining the reason behind

the protest march, the CM said that “massive demonstrations” need to be organized to “make our voices heard.” “He says there is no poriborton in Bengal, poriborton in Delhi. The prime minister is lying everyday. Before election Ujwala, after election there's jumla,” she said. The rally started at 2PM

from Mallaguri in Siliguri, and crossing Mahananda via Hillcart Road, proceeded to Mahatma Gandhi Chowk and ended at Hashmi Chowk with the slogan, "Mahangi Gas Aur Mahanga Tael, BJP Har Kaam

Mein Fail." Ms Banerjee, in a public address, tore in the BJP Government at the Centre and claimed

that the central government was attacking both the kitchens and the livelihoods of the people with the continuing hike in prices of cooking gas and fuel. She also mocked the narcissism of the PM in allowing the world’s largest stadium named after Sardar Patel to be renamed Narendra Modi Stadium and accused the BJP of working exclusively in the interest of its corporate sponsors at the cost of interests of the common people. She also reminded the people about the condition of women in BJP-ruled states and how atrocities were rampant there because of the saffron party’s toxic attitude which respects neither women nor democracy. She also played on Bengali sentiments by pointing out the BJP obsession with changing names and seeding divisions. “If Bengal is handed over to the BJP, then the BJP will split it again,” she said. Last month, the West Bengal CM had arrived to work on an electric scooter to drive home the point on spiralling fuel prices. "Kerosene is not available. One crore people in Bengal use it. Petrol-diesel (prices are) up. Gas up...even last night. That's why I decided to take the

scooter to work," she had said at the time. "Modi is selling the country. This government is anti-people,

anti-women, anti-farmer, and anti-young generation. We want this government to go," she stressed. Elections to West Bengal's 294-seat Assembly are scheduled to be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.