Despite announcing a 4% cut in value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the Congress-sponsored Bharat Bandh on Monday witnessed a mixed response in the state.
Prior to the Assembly elections, senior Congress leaders of the state left no stone unturned to make it a successful affair. As the Congress got support from other Opposition parties and trade unions, the markets in Jaipur remained shut. According to the police, no untoward incident was reported.
The Raje government had on Sunday cut the VAT on petrol prices from 30% to 26%. However, the move failed to dilute the countrywide protest called by the Congress-led Opposition against the steep hike in fuel prices. “Just by reducing VAT by 4% won't help. The BJP wants to earn brownie points. But people of our country are intelligent and cannot be fooled by their half-hearted attempts,” said Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee president.
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot claimed that Raje was forced to reduce the VAT following the resentment of people. "It was the BJP government which had raised the VAT on petrol and diesel by 4% in December 2014 now it has reduced it in poll bound-Rajasthan".