Seeking to provide some healing touch to "aam admi" a day after the Government hiked oil prices, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asked party chief ministers to effect a cut in sales tax on petroleum products.
With the Congress-led coalition facing flak from both friends and foes of the UPA and supporting Left parties which have called bandhs in states ruled by them, Gandhi suggested to Congress chief ministers to lower sales tax on petroleum items.
Congress is in power in around half a dozen states, prominent among them being Maharashtra, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.
Gandhi's suggestion comes a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked state governments to reduce the taxes and levies on petrol, diesel and other petro products.
In his televised address to the nation, Singh had last night said "the Central government, oil companies and consumers are bearing a part of this immense burden.
"It is, therefore, incumbent on state governments, many of whom tax petroleum products substantially, to also contribute to this national effort by suitably reducing state taxes and levies".
The Left-ruled West Bengal government has already slashed sales tax on petrol and diesel by up to five per cent giving a relief of Rs 2.12 and Rs 1.38 a litre on the two fuels respectively.
The Government had on Wenesday raised the prices of petrol by Rs five a litre, diesel by Rs three a litre and LPG cylinders by Rs 50 per cylinder, evoking strong protests from both the opposition and alliance parties.