Opposition questions hike in duty on petrol

After wriggling out of the Opposition tirade against Union Minister Niranjan Jyoti’s abusive remarks, the government is now bracing for another round of trouble in Rajya Sabha with a statutory motion moved by CPM and Trinamool Congress against raising excise duty on petrol.

The motion is set to be discussed in the House. The floor managers of the ruling BJP will have a tense time as the voting on the issue will make parties take a stand whether they want the rise in fuel prices to continue or a reduction in prices following a decrease in global crude prices.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman has admitted the motions moved by CPM’s Sitaram Yechury and K N Balagopal and  Trinamool’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.

The government on December 2 increased excise duty on petrol and diesel by amending the Central Excise Act, which angered the Opposition, which noted that international crude oil prices had decreased about 45 per cent in the last few days.

With the numbers in favour of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP managers will have to sweat it out. The CPM is banking on the Opposition to embarrass the government, as it believes that it would be tough for parties to oppose a demand for bringing down fuel prices.

“BJP will have to muster courage for the floor test. Let us see who all will oppose the motion. That is another test,” Yechury said.

Balagopal said he hoped the House will discuss the motion as it is a “sensitive” issue.
The CPM MP also raised the issue during Zero Hour on Tuesday. Accusing the government of adopting double standards, he said the government was not passing on the benefits of decrease in international prices.

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