The Delhi Congress on Thursday formed a human chain against the "all-time high prices of petrol and diesel" due to the high excise duty imposed by the BJP-led central government and VAT by Delhi's AAP government, and demanded a rollback of the taxes.Hundreds of Congress workers under the leadership of the party's Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken formed a human chain from Mandi House crossing to Parliament House.Congress workers carried placards and banners at the protest, demanding rollback of the high excise and VAT taxes imposed on petrol and diesel by the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi, despite the prices of crude oil falling substantially in the international market.Addressing the party workers, Maken said: "In the last three years, the Modi government increased excise duty on petrol by 133 per cent and on diesel by 400 per cent, while the Kejriwal government in Delhi increased VAT from 20 to 27 per cent on petrol per litre and VAT on diesel was increased from 12.5 per cent to 16.75 per cent."Maken said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government had hiked the excise duty on petrol and diesel 11 times, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government increased VAT on petrol and diesel twice."Due to these, the prices of petrol and diesel have become sky-high," he said.
Hitting out at Kejriwal, Maken said: "Before the assembly elections, Kejriwal had declared there was no need to collect taxes as the government can run without collecting taxes."He noted that Kejriwal, immediately on assuming power in Delhi, changed the law to hike VAT on petrol and diesel.The Congress leader said the prices of petrol and diesel had risen so sharply that the lives of the common people had been considerably affected financially but the government was silent on it.He also said that the rise in the petrol and diesel prices had affected the transport sector, leading to a cascading effect on the prices of all essential commodities.Maken reminded the Prime Minister that he had assured the people before the 2014 elections that he would reduce the prices of petrol and diesel."But ever since the BJP government has come to power, the prices of petrol and diesel have only gone up, time and again," he alleged.On September 17, the Delhi Congress had started a campaign in the national capital to collect 10 lakh signatures against the rise in the prices of petrol and diesel.