Opposition slams Modi govt on oil prices

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File photo: PTI)
On Thursday, prominent Opposition parties and their leaders criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for high oil prices, and the government’s failure to pass on the gains from low crude oil prices to the consumers.

Over the past couple of months, Opposition leaders have avoided engaging with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on issues of identity politics. Instead, their criticism of the government has focused on the latter’s failure to deliver jobs, the impact of demonetisation, hurried implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), economic slowdown, and agrarian distress.

Political parties have also asked their leaders active on social media to “not fall victim to BJP’s fake narrative to distract from real issues”.

According to sources, there is now considerable synergy between social media teams of parties such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), and even the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

This was evident on Wednesday and Thursday, when Opposition leaders tweeted with the hashtag “BJP’s fuel loot” after the data released by oil companies showed oil prices at a three-year high, and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ruling out government intervention to check the price surge.

“International oil prices down by over 50 per cent and yet petrol and diesel are at their highest level since 2014. Only headline management, no price management,” Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien, who also heads his party’s social media outreach, tweeted.

Typo,now ok. Intl oil prices down by over 50% & yet petrol/diesel at highest level since 2014.Only headline management, no price management

— Derek O'Brien (@quizderek) September 13, 2017
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted: “BJP’s fuel loot continues as petrol-diesel prices are at a three year high! Burning holes in the pocket of common people is the sole aim of the Modi government.”

'BJP's Fuel Loot' continues as Petrol-Diesel prices are 3 yr high!Burning holes in the pocket of common people is the sole aim of Modi Govt pic.twitter.com/YiBgSMODvn

— Randeep S Surjewala (@rssurjewala) September 13, 2017
CPI (M) chief Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “Who benefits from money collected by the Modi government by taxing oil? Rich corporates whose bank loans of Rs 2 lakh crore were written off in three years.”

Who benefits from money collected by Modi govt by taxing oil? Rich corporates, whose bank loans of Rs 2 lakh cr were written off in 3 years? pic.twitter.com/cmwNcde9ie

— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) September 14, 2017
AAP leader Ashutosh also tweeted on the increase in fuel prices.

??????? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?? ???? ??????????? ?? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? ??????

— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) September 13, 2017
Opposition and trade union protests have been planned on issues of oil prices, inflation, farm distress, and impact of demonetisation on livelihoods during the upcoming winter session of Parliament in November.

“Jobs, demonetisation scam, GST haste, economic mess and prices…We are sticking with this narrative,” O’Brien said.

Jobs, DeMo scam, GST haste, economic mess, prices... sticking with this narrative

— Derek O'Brien (@quizderek) September 13, 2017
He has not only been active in managing his party’s social media presence but has also reached out to social media teams of other parties, including AAP’s Ankit Lal and the Congress.

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