NDA calls for bandh against hike on May 31

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | New Delhi | Updated: May 25 2012, 07:24am hrs
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Wednesday announced a Bharat Bandh on May 31 to protest the hike in petrol prices. The BJP was also categorical in ruling out any cut in state taxes by state governments run by it to cool down fuel prices.

The government creates these problems and then we are expected to take a financial hit. Everyone knows that state finances are already under strain, especially with the imminent implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) regime, said chief spokesperson of the party Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Petrol is taxed three times by the Centre, at raw, refined and sales points. The state only taxes it when it comes to retail, and yet, whenever a hike happens, state governments are asked to forgo income, he said, making it clear that BJP-ruled states were in no mood to bail out the Central government this time round.

The NDAs working president LK Advani released a statement asking people to protest the hike in petrol prices, and to make the national bandh a success.

In the past, BJP-ruled states have cut duties on petrol and petroleum products, and as late as this year, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikkar cut nearly R11 from petrol prices in the states, taxes owed to the state government.

The BJP does not believe that the rupee is weakening against the dollar because of the euro zone crisis. In such a scenario why hasnt any other currency weakened he said. We are in trouble because of the wrong economic policies of the government, Parrikkar said.

Party president Nitin Gadkari said, The Congress creates economic crisis, but it is the BJP which will respond positively to it.

Referring to his recent visit to Israel, Gadkari told the party that businessmen abroad want to invest in India, but are afraid to do so because the policy environment is so negative. We have to combine economic, ecological and ethically sound policy frameworks, he said.