Will force govt to cut VAT on fuel: BJP after its march stopped

On Monday, the BJP had planned to take out the protest rally from state BJP headquarters in central Kolkata to Esplanade. However, the police did not grant permission, citing Covid-19 restrictions.

BJP workers on Monday clashed with police after they were stopped from taking out a rally demanding a reduction in taxes levied by the Mamata Banerjee government on fuel prices. Several of them were detained following the scuffle, police said.

Slamming the TMC government for not reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel, BJP leaders threatened to take out rallies across West Bengal for five days if VAT is not reduced on fuel and gave a seven-day ultimatum to the state government to accept its demand.

On Monday, the BJP had planned to take out the protest rally from state BJP headquarters in central Kolkata to Esplanade. However, the police did not grant permission, citing Covid-19 restrictions.

Police had put up barricades outside the BJP office to prevent party workers from taking out the rally. As they tried to cross the barricades, a scuffle with the police ensued.

Asserting that they will force the state government to reduce the VAT on fuel prices, state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said, “Whenever we decide to hold our programmes, the police stop us citing Covid-19 norms. But the TMC is allowed to take out a rally against the Centre over rising fuel prices. The ruling party is scared of the BJP and that’s why it is stopping us. But we will force the state government to reduce VAT on fuel.” “We are giving the state government an ultimatum of seven days… If it doesn’t accept our demand, we will take out march to Nabanna to press for the same,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, said the party would continue to hold protest rallies till the state government accepts their demand.

“After the Centre’s decision to reduce VAT, several states also slashed taxes to help bring down fuel prices. But the state government which claims to be a pro-people government is yet to do it. This is nothing but the double standard of the West Bengal government,” said Adhikari.

BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh too slammed the TMC government over the issue. “If they are so concerned about the people then they should also reduce taxes on fuel,” said Ghosh.

On the eve of Diwali, the Centre had announced a reduction in central levies on petrol by Rs 5 a litre and diesel by Rs 10 a litre. Till now, over 20 states and Union territories have undertaken a commensurate reduction of VAT. However, several Opposition-ruled states, including West Bengal, Delhi and Maharashtra, have not reduced VAT.

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said the BJP was indulging in cheap politics over the issue.

 

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