Ujjwala scheme proved to be 'hollow gimmick' of Modi govt: Congress

Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the government over the issue of high prices of cooking gas

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi (File photo)
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi (File photo)
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PTI

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Ujjwala 2.0, the Congress on Tuesday said the scheme has proven to be a "hollow gimmick" of the government with an domestic cooking gas cylinder costing Rs 888, and demanded that its price be halved to the level it was in 2014 during the UPA rule.

Modi launched Ujjwala 2.0 -- the second phase of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) -- by virtually presenting free LPG connections to some beneficiaries in Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh, where assembly elections are scheduled early next year.

Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra launched a scathing attack on the government over the issue of high prices of cooking gas.

"Prime Minister please answer these questions: Why were gas cylinder prices doubled in the last seven years? Why did you increase the price of the gas cylinder by Rs 240 in a year of terrible economic crisis?" she said in a Facebook post in Hindi.

"Due to the rising prices of gas cylinders, about 90 per cent of the cylinders are lying in junk and people have been forced to cook using firewood. This cruel government has also ended the subsidy given to the poor on cylinders. Now gas is needed in the cylinder of the poor, not 'jumla'. Reduce prices," Priyanka Gandhi said.

In a statement, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Ujjwala scheme, with a gas cylinder costing Rs 888, has proven to be another "hollow gimmick" of the government which did not benefit the poor.

"In the last seven years, the Modi government has doubled the price of the LPG cylinder by eliminating the subsidy on gas cylinders, making LPG completely out of the reach of the common people and the poor," Surjewala said.

"The Jumla government has to understand that the people of the country are very intelligent, and they want relief, not jumla (rhetoric)'. It is our demand that the price of subsidised LPG cylinder should be reduced by half immediately to Rs 400 per cylinder as it was at the time of the Congress government in 2014," the Congress general secretary said.

Criticising the government, Surjewala said that when Prime Minister Modi is launching Ujjwala-2 in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh, the price of cooking gas is Rs 888 per cylinder there which used to be Rs 400 under the Congress government.

"Today, out of about 8 crore Ujjwala gas consuming families, 4 crore families have not refilled the gas cylinder because they cannot pay such a hefty price and most of the people are again forced to cook on the wooden stove," he said.

Claiming that the Ujjwala scheme had been a "complete failure", Surjewala said it was neither able to achieve its stated targets nor was cooking gas available to the poor.

The international price of LPG gas is much less than at the time of Congress, but the price of LPG cylinder is double of that time, he said.

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