Reactions from all sides of the political spectrum have been flooding in after the Union government on Saturday, 21 May, reduced the excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per litre and diesel by Rs 6 per litre, as announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
"This will reduce the price of petrol by Rs 9.5 per litre and of diesel by Rs 7 per litre," she said.
While BJP leaders praised the move, Congress leaders remained sceptical about the price cut.
'This Is Equal To Rob Peter More and Pay Peter Less:' P Chidambaram
Senior Congress leader and MP P Chidambaram wrote on Twitter, "Raise Rs 10 per litre in 2 months and cut Rs 9.50 per litre on petrol and Rs 7 per litre on diesel. This is equal to rob Peter more & pay Peter less!"
In another series of tweets posted on Sunday, he added, "I wonder if they (Centre) can afford to give up that revenue (from VAT) unless the Centre devolved more funds or gave them more grants."
He compared the situation to what it would feel being between "the devil and the deep sea".
He noted that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's call to the states was futile. She used words like 'Excise Duty', but, Chidambaram complained, "the reduction is in Additional Excise Duty which is not shared with the states. Hence, contrary to what I said yesterday, the entire burden of the reduction falls on the Centre."
He went on to say that the states are barely earning anything from duties levied on petrol and diesel. "Their revenue is from VAT on petrol and diesel."
The central excise duty has been reduced by Re 1, of which 41 paise belong to the states, he said.
"It means that the Centre has slashed 59 paise and the State has reduced 41 paise. So don't point fingers," he added in another tweet in Hindi.
'Don't Befool People': Opposition Reacts to Price Cut
The general secretary of the Congress Party, Randeep Singh Surjewala, expressed his opinions on the price cut in a series of tweets.
Additionally, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot wrote on Twitter, "Due to the continuous protests by the Congress against inflation across the country and the pressure of public awareness campaign against the inflation decided in Navsankalp Shivir, Udaipur, the central government today had to decide to reduce the excise duty on petrol and diesel."
Congress leader Jaiveer Shergill also expressed his disapproval on Twitter, writing "Excise duty over 8 years on Petrol has been increased by 531% & Diesel by 206%; ₹26 Lac Crore looted from public! Over past 2 months petrol has been increased by ₹10 & today reduced by ₹9.50. Today’s cut in excise duty does not even qualify as “band-aid” but mere chicanery!"
Siddaramaiah, however, leader of the Opposition of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, welcomed the Union government's decision.
Telangana Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, KT Rama Rao (KTR), also took a dig at the central government.
"There was this shopkeeper next to my school who used to hike the prices by 300 percent during peak season & then just to hoodwink people, slash it by 30 percent and his cronies would start hailing it as a bumper offer and thank him! Sounds familiar?" he tweeted.
'Always People First For Us': PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the praise for the finance minister's decision.
"It is always people first for us! Today’s decisions, especially the one relating to a significant drop in petrol and diesel prices will positively impact various sectors, provide relief to our citizens and further 'Ease of Living'," he wrote on Twitter.
UP CM Yogi Adityanath also appreciated the decision, tweeting in Hindi, "Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre in public interest has reduced the excise duty by ₹8 per litre on petrol, and by ₹6 per litre on diesel… This decision, which is dedicated to public welfare, will benefit all sections of society in an equal manner. Thank you prime minister."
"It is good that the central government took the decision to reduce fuel prices. We are discussing whether the state would further reduce prices. It was done last time and we are discussing it for this time," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said, as quoted by news agency ANI.
Piyush Goyal, minister in the Union government, wrote on Twitter that "Modi Sarkar Is Listening!"
Additionally, former Maharashtra CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis also tweeted his thanks to Prime Minister Modi and Finance Minister Sitharaman.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant added to the series of praises, saying, "Reduction in fuel prices is very welcome. This will help in inflation. Common men will benefit. This is the second such decision in three months. Last time, all BJP-ruled states further reduced prices. This time, other party-ruled states should think about this," reported ANI.
'India Sustained Pressure': Former Pak PM Imran Khan
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan also reacted to the cut in petrol prices in India.
"Despite being part of the Quad, India sustained pressure from the US and bought discounted Russian oil to provide relief to the masses. This is what our govt was working to achieve with the help of an independent foreign policy," Khan tweeted.
"For our govt, Pakistan's interest was supreme but unfortunately the local Mir Jafars & Mir Sadiqs bowed to external pressure forcing a regime change, and are now running around like a headless chicken with the economy in a tailspin," he added.
(With inputs from ANI.)