Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said Tuesday the state may consider reducing its taxes on petrol and diesel, as his ruling AIADMK blamed the central government for the rising fuel prices and accused it of “acting” as if it was unaware of people’s problems. A day after the Congress-led ‘Bharat Bandh’ on oil prices which the AIADMK did not support, a write-up in the dravidian party mouthpiece was critical of the Centre on various other issues, including depreciation of rupee and alleged “step-motherly” treatment of non-BJP ruled states.
The party wondered if such issues prompted a woman “to raise slogans against BJP state unit chief Tamilisai Soundrarajan on a flight recently”. The bandh organised by the opposition parties to protest the spiralling prices of petroleum products was supported by AIADMK’s arch-rival DMK and its allies in the state, but did not affect normal life.
Speaking to reporters in Salem, Palaniswami said the government would consider reducing the state tax on petroleum products even as he put the onus on the Centre. “Only the Centre can reduce.
The Centre is only increasing the prices, not the state (government),” he said in an apparent reference to Oil Marketing Companies’ daily revision of petrol and diesel prices. Pointing to the difficulties in fund allocation for various projects, he said: “We need sufficient funds but the government will consider the plea (on tax cut).” His remarks come in the backdrop of some state governments, including those of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, announcing cuts in state taxes on petrol and diesel.
The AIADMK’s attack on the Centre comes at a time when the opposition DMK and others have been accusing the ruling party of being subservient to the BJP. However, the AIADMK also noted that the NDA government did not face any allegations of scams compared to its predecessor UPA.
Yet, there was “concern” that people do not feel at ease due to the daily increase in rates of petrol and diesel prices, it said in the mouth-piece “Namathu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma” . “The government doesn’t understand the common man’s concern that fuel prices will spur hike in overall prices.
The middle class is losing sleep over the increasing LPG prices,” the write-up said. “People of lower rungs are pained hearing cylinder (LPG) rates. The ruling government at the centre is amazingly acting as if it is not aware of this,” it said. Hitting out at the government over the falling value of the Indian Rupee, it said it was affecting industry, resulting in attrition and job loss.
It said there was tax burden due to unprecedented GST slabs of 28 per cent (on certain goods). In this backdrop, the Centre was “adamant” that it will not provide any cut in duty on petrol and diesel, it said.
The AIADMK mouthpiece alleged that non-BJP ruled states “are being meted out step-motherly treatment”. “Are all these contributing to the anger,” it said in an apparent reference to a woman student allegedly raising anti-BJP slogans onboard a flight in which Soundrarajan was flying to Tuticorin last week. The student was arrested by police after the BJP leader took exception to her behaviour onboard the flight, but later released on bail.