The Delhi government’s rolbacks in the Budget followed high drama in the Assembly. The Budget was passed without any Opposition as all BJP MLAs, except Leader of Opposition V.K. Malhotra, were asked to leave the House due to unruly behaviour.
The BLP MLAs trooped to the Well of the House and began shouting slogans and demanding a rollback in the proposed hikes in LPG, diesel and CNG.
Among those named for removal from the House were senior BJP leaders such as Harsh Vardhan, H.S. Balli, Karan Singh Tanwar, Ravindra Bansal and others.
The ruling party, too, made the most of it saying they accepted public demand.
“We would like to bow to public opinion. We have taken the decision to provide relief to the common man,” CM Sheila Dikshit said soon after the assembly passed the budget.
Apart from giving relief in CNG and gas cylinder, the prices of utensils, pressure cooker, tea, coffee and coffee beans will remain the same as the proposed 7.5 per cent hike in VAT on these items was rolled back.
The five per cent VAT introduced on zari and embroidery items was also withdrawn.
The government hoped to earn at least Rs 1,136 crore more from these taxes to fund the Commonwealth Games.
The rollbacks in the proposed hikes, however, might not change things in the long run as the Rs 2.37 hike on diesel has not been revised. “The diesel hike will make everything expensive, so the rollbacks are just half the job done,” V.K. Malhotra said. Finance Minister Walia, however, said Delhi’s taxes on diesel and petrol were still one of the cheapest in the country.
MCD Standing Committee chairman R.K. Singhal and nine BJP activists were injured when police used water cannons to disperse BJP workers who were protesting against price rise.