BJP supporters clash with police in Kolkata while demanding VAT cut on petrol, diesel

They were stopped from taking out rally demanding cut in VAT on petrol and diesel by State government

BJP supporters clashed with the police in Kolkata on Monday after they were stopped from taking out a rally demanding a reduction in VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel by the West Bengal government after the Union government slashed taxes on petrol and diesel.

Senior BJP leaders, including State president Sukanta Majumdar, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari and party’s national vice president Dilip Ghosh were present outside the party headquarters at Murlidhar Sen Lane when the whole area was cordoned off by the police. The police refused permission for the BJP leaders to lead a rally on grounds of the COVID-19 situation. There was a scuffle between party supporters and the police and several BJP leaders and supporters were detained.

“CM @MamataOfficial is running an insensitive govt to people’s woes. After @narendramodi govt reduced the excise duty on Petrol and Diesel, many BJP ruled states have further given relief to common people by reducing VAT. Why isn’t Bengal CM doing?” Mr. Majumdar said.

Also read: Total tax on petrol down to 50%, diesel to 40% after duty cuts

Mr. Adhikari stated that he would raise the issue in the next session of the Assembly. Mr. Ghosh pointed out that 22 State governments in the country have reciprocated to the Centre’s move and reduced prices of petrol and diesel and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should provide respite to the people by reducing the taxes.

Mamata’s charge

Ms. Banerjee said the Centre has collected about ₹ 4 lakh crore from petroleum products and was not giving anything to the States ruled by Opposition parties.

“In States they are in power, they allocate thousands of crores of rupees. They do not give anything to us. Forget about money, they [Centre] do not give us even vaccines,” she alleged. The prices of essential commodities were linked with petroleum products but the Centre did not think about it. The State government had reduced tax on petroleum products by ₹ 1, she noted.

BJP’s letter to poll panel

In another development, the BJP wrote to the State Election Commission seeking polls in every civic body where elections are pending on a single day. In the letter written by three leaders, the party also demanded that results should be announced on one day. Elections to more than 100 civic bodies, including the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, are due in the State.

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