New Delhi, Sep 10 (KTNS) Opposition leaders on Monday accused the Modi government of pursuing “anti-people policies” and cheating the people on various issues, besides remaining silent on the rising prices of fuel and other essential items.

Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar accused the NDA regime of betraying the people through fuel price hikes and said that a beginning had been made to oust the “anti-people” Modi government in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing a joint opposition protest rally at the Ramlila Maidan here against petrol and diesel price hikes, Pawar said that power had gone into the wrong hands, and parties opposed to the government have to work together to remove it.

“We have to bring about a change. If a change has to be brought, all political parties who work to protect the interests of people have to make joint efforts to remove this anti-people government. If we are ready to proceed on this path, we will get the support of people… power has gone into wrong hands and we will rid the country of it,” the former Union Minister said.

He said that a beginning has been made with Monday’s protest called by the Congress and supported by nearly 20 political parties.

Without naming the BJP, Pawar said that people running the government for the past four years had assured that prices of commodities of daily use will be kept under check but steps that should have been taken were not taken.

Pawar took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his speech at the BJP National Executive meet on Sunday. “He talked of his government’s bravery, but this bravery is in pulling down the rupee, this bravery is in raising fuel prices, this bravery is in raising cooking gas prices.”

The former Union Minister also countered the BJP charge that nothing happened in the last many decades, and said such allegations were quite strange.

“Then Leader of the Opposition Atal Bihari Vajpayee told Parliament that such remarks were an insult to farmers who had made India self-dependent in food grains, an insult to labourers who worked to increase industrial production and export…”

He also took a dig at the BJP vis-a-vis commemorating Vajpayee, saying the BJP veteran was not remembered when he was alive. Instead of taking his name now daily, BJP leaders should follow his message if they wanted to pay him real tributes.

In his remarks, Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy accused the Modi government of “cheating people on every issue.”

Revolutionary Socialist Party Member of Parliament N.K. Premachandran said that protests by various political outfits was an indication that the entire country is agitated and protesting against the government’s “anti-people policies”.

Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary said the BJP leaders were silent on issues affecting the people, including fuel prices and unemployment.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren said that the government had “looted” about Rs 10 lakh crore from the poor, farmers, labourers and the middle class through increased prices of petroleum products.

“The Prime Minister calls himself a fakir (acetic). I am surprised. We have seen plunderers loot the country, but it is for the first time that a ‘fakir’ is looting the country,” he said.