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The Indian National Congress has decided to hold a 10-day nationwide agitational programme against skyrocketing fuel prices and increasing inflation.

"Moved by the plight of the people already suffering on account of the Covid pandemic, rampant unemployment and salary cuts, the Congress party has decided to launch nationwide agitation programs at Block, District and State levels," read a statement by the party.

"These programs shall be implemented by the state units between 7 July and 17 July 2021. It shall comprise Congress Party Leaders, AICC frontal organisations including Mahila Congress leaders and members, aided by scores of ordinary party workers all over the country," it added.

The party leaders and workers have planned to take out cycle yatra at district levels, and processions at the state level. A signature campaign will also be run at all petrol pumps across the country, demanding a reduction in fuel prices.

The decision regarding the protest was firmed up after the party general secretaries and various state in-charges met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.

In the meeting, Gandhi said the rising prices are causing an intolerable burden on people and agitations have been organised to highlight how it is hurting farmers and millions of families.

Apart from fuel, the prices of many other essential commodities like pulses and edible oils too have skyrocketed causing widespread distress, she noted.

"This price rise is taking place at a time when livelihoods are being lost in unprecedented numbers, when there is mounting unemployment and when economic recovery is not a reality," she said.

Following this, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary K C Venugopal said that the party aims to build a mass movement through these programmes.

He said the protests would put pressure on the government to roll back the excessive excise duty on fuel and gas and provide relief to the already suffering consumers.

Other developments in the meeting

Gandhi told the party workers in the meeting that they must play an active role in ensuring full Covid-19 vaccination coverage and address vaccine hesitancy wherever evident.

She also said that the country needs to prepare for the possible third wave and take proactive measures so that children are spared this calamity.

The party chief called upon Congress leaders and workers to continue to put pressure on the union government to ensure that the daily rate of vaccination trebles so that 75% of the population gets fully vaccinated by end of this year.

Her comments come in the wake of the BJP accusing Congress of aiding vaccine hesitancy.

"On the pandemic, let me say that it is absolutely essential that our party plays an active role in ensuring full vaccination coverage. At the national level, the daily rate of vaccination has to treble so that 75 per cent of our population gets fully vaccinated by end of this year," she said.


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