Congress Says It Backs Haryana Govt’s Fight against Covid-19, But Will Oppose ‘Anti-people’ Decisions

Main opposition Congress on Friday said the party was extending its cooperation to the BJP-JJP government in Haryana to fight COVID-19 but it will oppose if the ruling dispensation takes “anti-people decisions”.

The Congress slammed the state government for hiking bus fares by 15 paise per km and increasing VAT on petrol by Re 1 and that on diesel by Rs 1.1 per litre, and also deciding to impose one per cent market fee and one per cent Haryana Rural Development Fund cess on the sale of fruits and vegetables in ‘mandis’.

The party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Singh Surjewala, and state unit president Kumari Selja said while other governments were putting money in people’s hand during the crisis caused by the pandemic, the BJP-JJP dispensation was “burdening the people by taking anti-people decisions”.

Surjewala and Selja were addressing a press briefing through video-conferencing.

Surjewala slammed the Khattar government, saying the state Cabinet took the “anti-people” decisions on Thursday, hours after opposition parties, including the Congress, reiterated their support to the government in its fight against COVID-19.

He said had the chief minister, who chaired an all-party meeting shortly before the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, taken the opposition into confidence that the government was planning to effect these hikes, they would have told him this was not the time to burden the common people.

“Hours after the all-party meeting, the government took these anti-people decisions. Is this not proof of political dishonesty? If Khattar had to increase these prices, was it not his duty to put these facts before the all-party meet,” asked Surjewala.

“These decisions will break the backs of the common people,” he said, demanding an immediate rollback of these decisions.

“We have said that we extended full cooperation to the government in the fight against COVID, but if they continue to burden people like this, then we will have to raise our voices and oppose,” Selja said.

Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda issued a statement on Friday, saying that he had assured Manohar Lal Khattar of his support in the fight against the pandemic but “if they take such decisions, which are anti-people, then we will oppose these”.

Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition, had represented the Congress in the all-party meeting convened on the COVID-19 situation.

Referring to the Khattar cabinet’s decisions taken on Thursday evening, Selja said, “The BJP has a history of taking anti-people decisions during evening hours “demonetisation is one such example.”

She said the Haryana government should ask for its share of GST from the Centre and not increase prices.

On the state’s sources of revenue during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, Surjewala said, “The state government presented its budget last month. This is just the start of the fiscal year, it is not that they have exhausted all funds during one month.

“The chief minister, who also holds the Finance portfolio, had last month said that our coffers are full. Have they exhausted all the money in one month,” he asked.

Selja, meanwhile, said the government was forming committees at district levels in which BJP workers were being appointed to coordinate in the ongoing relief works and no opposition member was being called despite promises by the ruling dispensation to include them in these committees.

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