Divided Stands BJP In Delhi

New Delhi, March 27: | Updated: Mar 28 2003, 05:30am hrs
The implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) is creating sharp differences within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the majority of supporters in the trading community are opposed to the new tax system. These differences are of great concern to the party because the state goes to elections later this year and unhappy traders and businessmen could cost the party vote and support.

"Nearly ninety percent of the the trading community, which is a major supporter of BJP, is against the government implementing VAT," said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party general secretary.

"Different organisations and cells related to the BJP have given their representation against the implementation of VAT, and we have sent these to the concerned ministries for their consideration", added Mr Naqvi.

However, despite these representations Union finance minister Jaswant Singh has refused to meet any trade cell or organisation in this regard and maintained the fact that he had taken the chief ministers of all states into confidence before taking the decision of implementing the new tax system.

Earlier on the March 25 the trade cell of the BJP had met to discuss the issue. "It was decided at the meeting that a detailed report on the problems faced by the traders be presented to party president Venkiah Naidu, who in turn is going to talk to the government," said Shyam Bihari Mishra, national convenor of the trade cell of the party.