The aam aadmi got some relief from sky-rocketing fuel prices as the Modi government announced Rs 2.50 per litre cut. The Centre cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 1.50 per litre and asked oil firms to absorb Re 1 a litre of prices. Announcing the steps during a press conference in New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also appealed state governments to reduce VAT on petrol and diesel.
Within an hour of Jaitley's appeal, several BJP-ruled states followed suit taking petrol, diesel prices down by at least Rs 5. While states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Assam announced reduction in VAT, Congress-ruled Karnataka and Left-run Kerala rejected Jaitley's call for tax rate cut.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy ruled out any further cut in fuel prices as it had already done it a fortnight ago.
The state government had slashed the petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2 per litre on September 17 in view of the public outcry against spiralling fuel prices.
On the other hand, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal demanded a Rs 10 per litre cut in fuel prices.
The Delhi chief minister said the Modi government raised excise duty on petrol from Rs 9.48 to Rs 19.48, leading to a steep rise in its price despite a sharp decline in international prices of crude oil.
"Modi government raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 10 and today reduced only Rs 2.50. This is cheating. Centre should bring down petrol prices at least by Rs 10," he said in a tweet.
In Delhi, where the fuel prices are the lowest among all metros, and most of the state capitals, petrol is currently sold at Rs 84 per litre and diesel at Rs 75.45.
Describing the cut in petrol, diesel prices as 'meagre', the Congress said that the fuel price cut is like applying a 'band-aid' after inflicting a thousand wounds on the people of the country.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala claimed it was a 'panic reaction' by the government after facing public ire and an 'imminent defeat' for the BJP in upcoming assembly elections in five states, and said the step will bring little relief to the people as it is like "reducing death sentence to life imprisonment".
Alleging over 'Rs 13-lakh-crore fuel loot" through imposition of heavy excise duty on petrol and diesel and an equal amount through VAT by BJP-ruled states, Surjewala said the people "cannot be befooled" anymore by the government and demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
WATCH: Huge relief for aam aadmi as Modi govt reduces petrol, diesel prices