Pune: Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan on Sunday hit out at the Modi government over a host of issues, including its “failure” on the coronavirus vaccination front and the rise in fuel prices.
He was here to take part in the Congress party’s agitation over the fuel price and other issues.
Addressing a press conference on the occasion, Chavan said that in the last 186 days, since the country-wide vaccination drive began, the Centre has administered one COVID-19 vaccine dose to 36 crore people, while only 8.15 crore people have received both the doses.
“With this pace, only 14-15 crore people will be fully vaccinated by December this year,” he said.
According to him, even if the government doubles up the speed of vaccination, the count of fully vaccinated people won’t go above 25 crore by the end of this year.
“This is a clear failure of the central government. With this pace, it will take a long time for the economic revival,” he alleged.
The former Maharashtra chief minister also accused the Modi government of adopting an “easy way” of increasing taxes on fuel to cover up the losses.
“Fuel prices surged around 66 times in the last year. A major component of the fuel price is excise duty. When the Modi government came to power in 2014, the excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.48 and now it is Rs 32.90, which is an almost a 316 per cent increase in excise duty on petrol. For diesel, it has increased by 840 per cent,” he claimed, and added that due to this, the state-run petroleum companies were making a huge profit.
The central government was selling the family jewels that are government companies to manage the deficit, he added.
He hit out at senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, saying that he was misleading people by giving false information on the fuel prices and blaming the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for the rise in petroleum products in Maharashtra.
“The state government charges the same VAT on fuel that was being charged by the previous Fadnavis government, Chavan said.
The Congress-led UPA government had brought 14 crore people out of the BPL category with great efforts, but the present regime has pushed 23 crore of them back to poverty, he alleged.
“Coronavirus pandemic is not the only reason behind it. The situation was the same even before this crisis According to figures from last seven quarters, the growth rate is coming down,” the Congress leader said.
On the recent reshuffle of the Union council of ministers, Chavan said, “As per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement, the government failed to handle the pandemic, hence they were changing the health minister. Same is the case with the education minister. Modi government reshuffled the cabinet because the ministers were inefficient. My question to the PM is – why did it take seven years for you to realise that these ministers are inefficient?”
He said that all the decisions are anyway taken at the PMO, so changing the faces (of ministers) would not make any difference.
Replying to a query on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) actions against various leaders, Chavan said, ” Inquiries should be conducted to punish the wrongdoers, but by following the court procedures. Nowadays, raids, arrests and many more things are happening. However, there is no conclusion of these actions.”
He alleged that the central government was using these agencies to blackmail leaders from the rival parties.