The city unit of Congress, led by Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Balasaheb Thorat, staged a protest against the Central government over rising fuel prices, in Pune and other parts of the State. “At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has crushed the poor, the working classes and small businesses, the Modi government ought to be standing firmly behind them. Instead, by increasing the fuel prices, the BJP government at the Centre is committing ‘daylight robbery’,” alleged Mr. Thorat, who is also the State Revenue Minister.

The Modi government, he said, had been increasing fuel prices for 21 straight days at a time when global oil prices were low.

Senior Pune Congress leader Mohan Joshi said the hikes had broken the back of the middle class as well as smaller businesses in Pune and other parts of Maharashtra.

“Along with our protests in the streets, we have launched a parallel online campaign titled ‘SpeakUpForFuelHike’. We plan to intensify our campaign against the Centre after June 30 and once the lockdown is completely lifted,” Mr. Joshi said.

Mr. Thorat said that while today’s protests had received overwhelming response at the district level, the next phase of the protest was planned at the taluka level.

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