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BJP Protests In West Bengal Over Slashing VAT On Fuel Prices; 'We'll Force CM Banerjee'

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took to the streets in West Bengal on November 7 to protest VAT reduction on fuel prices.

Image: ANI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced on November 7 that it will take to the streets in West Bengal to lobby for the Mamata Banerjee administration to lower the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel. Raju Banerjee, vice-president of the BJP's state unit, had previously stated that the party would hold a rally on Monday at 1 pm from its headquarters. Starting November 8, the BJP will hold similar events in various parts of the state for five days, that is till November 12.

BJP state unit vice-president Raju Banerjee said that State BJP Chief Sukanta Majumder, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, and other prominent politicians will attend the rally, which will be held in accordance with COVID-19 procedures. Banerjee added that if the police try to stop them, they will respond appropriately. Raju Banerjee did not divulge the proposed protest rally's path. The Bengal BJP vice-president stated that because the problem is "very urgent," the party cannot wait until the end of Chhath Puja and Jagaddhatri puja to begin the agitation. 

BJP Stages Protest In West Bengal Over VAT Reduction On Fuel Prices

To provide relief to consumers, the Union government decreased the excise duty on petrol by Rs 5 per litre and diesel by Rs 10 per litre on November 3. This announcement was matched by 22 states and union territories held by the BJP and its allies, which reduced VAT rates in various proportions. On the other hand, states run by parties opposed to the BJP did not lower fuel taxes. Mamata Banerjee was outspoken against the rise in petrol prices, but the West Bengal CM and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) kept mum once the Centre reduced excise tax on the eve of Diwali, according to the state BJP vice-president.

"If she is so pro-poor, why can't our chief minister emulate states like Assam and Uttar Pradesh, and cut VAT and other surcharges on the two products to provide relief to people. She will not do it as the money accrued from such taxes are spent in organising fairs and giving donation to clubs,"  Raju Banerjee said.

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh on Saturday said, "The BJP is doing cheap politics over fuel prices as its inertia in stemming the skyrocketing prices of petrol, diesel and LPG has been exposed. It has slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel a bit, fine! But that is too little, too less."

Reduction in fuel prices and VAT 

VAT rates have been reduced in various proportions in at least 22 states and Union Territories (UTs). On November 4, petrol prices were reduced by Rs 5.7 to Rs 6.35 per litre across the country, while diesel prices were reduced by Rs 11.16 to Rs 12.88 per litre. The VAT rates on petrol and diesel have been slashed by Rs 8 and Rs 9 in BJP-ruled states, respectively. The most substantial drops in petrol are in Ladakh, Karnataka, and Puducherry, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. According to the Ministry, petrol prices in Ladakh, Karnataka, and Puducherry have fallen by Rs 13.43, Rs 13.55, and Rs 12.85, respectively. Meanwhile, the VAT on petrol and diesel has not been decreased in Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Andaman and Nicobar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. Fuel prices are adjusted by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum based on international prices during the previous 15 days and foreign stock markets. Depending on the influence of local levies such as value-added tax (VAT) and freight charges, the price of petrol and diesel varies from state to state and city to city.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

Image: ANI

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