A controversy erupted in Madhya Pradesh’s Katni after the district BJP chief Ramratan Payal slammed a journalist for asking questions on high fuel prices. Irked by the question, the BJP leader reportedly told the journalist to go to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to avail cheaper fuel.
In a video that has gone viral, the BJP leader is heard saying, “Go to Taliban. Petrol is being sold at Rs 50 a litre in Afghanistan. Go and refill your petrol there (Afghanistan), where nobody is there to refill the fuel. At least, here (India) we have safety. The third wave of COVID-19 is about to come while India has already faced two waves of the pandemic.”
Payal made the comments on Wednesday after he participated in a tree-planting programme organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth arm of the BJP.
Lecture on COVID protocols
The BJP leader, who was surrounded by his supporters—all of them without a face mask, also lectured the journalist about people not following COVID protocols. “You are a reputed journalist. Do you even realise the kind of situation in the country? How (Narendra) Modi ji is controlling the situation. He is still giving free ration to 80 crore people,” the BJP leader said.
He is not the first leader from the BJP to demand that those critical of the party’s governance move to Afghanistan. A few days ago, his Bihar colleague Haribhushan Thakur asked “those who are feeling scared in India” to go to the war-torn country. “… those who feel scared here can go there… petrol and diesel are cheaper. Once there, they will understand the value of India,” he said, taking a swipe at critics of the hike in fuel prices.
Fuel prices continue to remain high across the country due to high taxation by the Centre and state governments.
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