Amaravati: The BJP organised state-wide protests in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday demanding that the state government immediately reduce Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel and provide relief to the people.
Leader of the Opposition and Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu, separately, held a press conference and demanded that Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy keep his word and bring down the prices of petrol and diesel to the lowest level in the country.
BJP state president Somu Veerraju, who led the protest in Rajamahendravaram, said the Centre has cut the Excise Duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10 a litre respectively.
“Several states across the country have reduced VAT on fuels following the Centre’s call. The Jagan government blamed the Centre for spiralling fuel prices, but when the latter provided relief in the form of Excise Duty cut, why is the state not following that?” he asked.
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Veerraju said the BJP would step up the agitation with people’s support if the state government did not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel forthwith.
BJP cadres organised protests at all district Collectorates on the petro price issue.
At his press conference, the TDP chief recalled Jagan’s claims, when he was then in the opposition, that he would bring down the petro prices to the “lowest in the country”.
He is in power now. Why is he not keeping his word,” Chandrababu asked.
The TDP chief said AP topped the states in petrol and diesel prices in the country now. He pointed out that the prices were at least Rs 17 higher in AP compared to other states.
“When the Centre reduced the Excise Duty to lessen the burden on people, why is Jagan not doing the same by slashing VAT?,” he asked.
Chandrababu said the TDP would organise an hour-long protest at all petrol stations in the state on November 9 to educate people on the price variation.
The state Congress too said it would launch an agitation on the issue.
It was unfortunate that the state government was remaining indifferent on bringing down petrol and diesel prices when many states had done so, state Congress working president N Tulasi Reddy said.
He demanded that the state government not only reduce VAT, but also withdraw the Rs one per litre road development cess on fuels to bring real relief to consumers.
Meanwhile, state Deputy Chief Minister Dharmana Krishna Das said the government would take an appropriate decision at the right time on the petro price issue.