Criticising the fresh hike in petrol prices, the Shiromani Akali Dal today alleged that the Congress-led UPA government intends to "punish" the middle class, which has handed it "defeats in various elections".
The UPA has given a "free-hand" to multi-national oil firms, which are busy in "robbing" the common man, party president Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged.
"If it is the multi-national companies which will decide on the prices, why do we need a government at the Centre?" Badal said, noting that by hiking prices a day after the general budget, government has made a mockery of budget process.
He demanded an immediate rollback of the hike, alleging that the decision was taken without taking the Parliament into confidence.
In a second major increase in as many weeks, the prices of petrol were hiked today by Rs1.40 per litre.
As the hike excludes local sales tax or VAT, the effective increase in prices is set to be higher.