As speculated by many, petrol and diesel prices were hiked by 17 paise and 19 paise respectively right after a day post the Karnataka assembly elections. It is no wonder that the 19-day break was only for the Karnataka elections to get over. Petrol price in Delhi was hiked to ₹74.80 per litre from ₹74.63 while diesel rates were increased to ₹66.14 a litre from ₹65.93.
With this, petrol prices have reached a 56-month peak while that of diesel have touched a record high.
The BJP-led government had raised excise duty nine times between November 2014 and January 2016 to shore up finances as global oil prices fell, but then cut the tax just once in October last year by Rs 2 a litre.
The government had raised excise duty on petrol by Rs 11.77 a litre and that on diesel by Rs 13.47 per litre between November 2014 and January 2016 to take away gains arising from plummeting global oil prices. This led to its excise mop up more than doubling to Rs 2,42,000 crore in 2016-17 from Rs 99,000 crore in 2014-15.
The central government had cut excise duty by Rs 2 per litre in October 2017, when petrol price reached Rs 70.88 per litre in Delhi and diesel Rs 59.14. Because of the reduction in excise duty, diesel prices had on October 4, 2017, come down to Rs 56.89 per litre and petrol to Rs 68.38 per litre.
The step proves how strategic the BJP government is, and how it played with the fuel prices and kept them constant only to gain during the Karnataka assembly elections. Now, since the elections are over, its back to its original form, looting the general public.
But, people need to remember that four more assembly elections are queued up this year, and so they should not fall into this trap of illusion again.