The issue of fuel price has undoubtedly affected everyone in the country. But latest twist to the tale is the politics of fuel price increase and decrease between the Union government and the states! The Union government after sensing trouble with continuous price hike of fuel and with line-up of states going for polls over the next one year, it seems the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDA government at the centre has decided to cut fuel prices by reducing the centre’s share of excise duty by Rs 5 and Rs 10 for a litre of petrol and diesel respectively.
As if this move was not enough, the Union government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also suggested to states to reduce fuel prices from their end. Few of the BJP ruled states, mostly hich heading for elections in the coming months, have jumped into the bandwagon and have reduced the prices, while others are still to react on reducing state value added tax (VAT). Tamil Nadu has reduced VAT on fuel almost three months ago and set an example for all the states. Butwith pandemic and lockdown, most of the states’ treasuries are empty and they are not ready to take the risk of losing out income!
Latest state which has come out in open to criticise the move of the centre is Andhra Pradesh. In fact today the state government with its Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has come out with full page advertisements in few newspapers trying to explain about the price increase of petrol and diesel. This has not gone down well with Delhi and BJP leaders in AP.
Meanwhile state minister Perni Nani has come out to explain the state government’s stand with regards to fuel price. He said it was the BJP government’s achievement of shooting up the price of petrol from Rs 70 per litre to Rs 110 per litre. He questioned the centre’s policy of letting the fuel prices skyrocket and now claiming to have done great job of reducing the price by Rs 5. He called upon the state BJP leaders to fight against centre’s fuel price policy.
“It is unfortunate that the Union government was instrumental is drastic increase of petrol and diesel prices. Now they are demanding states to cut down value added tax (VAT), which is very funny. They have increased the prices indiscriminately without any consideration towards people and now are trying to push the blame on states,” the minister said.
Nani said that the Union government was collecting huge amounts from people in the name of road cess. “If only the centre can cut Rs 25 cess on per litre of petrol and diesel, things will change and will be helpful for everyone. State BJP leaders should protest against the centre in Delhi demanding for cutting the cess, we will also join them and support them in the agitation,” he mentioned.
The state minister observed that recent drubbing of BJP in by-elections across the country has been the reason for the Union government to reduce excise duty on fuel. Having reduced the price for namesake, now the centre is throwing the onus of reduction of fuel prices on the state governments, he pointed out.
Meanwhile, opposition parties Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and BJP have called for state-wide protest tomorrow demanding state government to reduce VAT. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu recalled the words of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy that during his padayatra he had mentioned that after coming to power he would reduce VAT considerably.