Even as some states governed by the Congress and its allies as well as constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are slashing value added tax (VAT) on petroleum products to relieve the burden of the recent price hikes on consumers, the BJP insists it will not tell state governments run by the party to cut taxes.
Instead, it wants the central government to withdraw the recent hikes on the prices of cooking gas, petrol and diesel.
“The Centre will give some part of their increased revenues to their states through the backdoor. The BJP and NDA-ruled states get discriminated against. The Centre plays a biased role against BJP and NDA states,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said on Tuesday.
“It is the mistake of the Centre due to which fuel prices are rising. How can they ask us to bring them down? There is a contradiction in their position,” said a key aide of Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.
A day earlier, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had responded to the same question, saying, “We have told our states to talk to the Centre and then come to a conclusion. To put the onus on states is just an excuse. A national policy on fuel pricing is required.”
Not everyone in the party, however, took the same line. BJP national vice-president Shanta Kumar said in Ludhiana recently that the NDA governments, including Punjab, were “advised” to cut state-imposed VAT on fuels to provide relief to ordinary people.
“NDA-ruled states have been advised to reduce VAT on petrol to provide relief to the common man,” Kumar had said.