Fuel prices go up; Opposition walks out

Fuel prices go up; Opposition walks out

Fuel prices go up; Opposition walks out

A TV grab shows Opposition members staging a walkout during the budget speech of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Lok Sabha, in New Delhi on Friday. PTI / Lok Sabha TVOpposition parties, ranging from BJP to Left parties as also outside supporters to the UPA like Samajwadi Party and RJD, unitedly staged a walkout during Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's speech in the Lok Sabha.
CPI(M) leader Basudeb Acharia described the walkout as unprecedented during Budget presentation.

Addressing an impromptu joint press conference, along with other opposition veterans, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav appealed to the people to hit the streets in protest against government's move and sought their support like they did "during the Emergency".

"The entire opposition is together," RJD leader Lalu Prasad said, accusing the UPA government of acting in a "dictatorial manner" against the interests of the 'aam aadmi' and threatened that Parliament would not be allowed to function till a rollback is effected.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, who led the walkout, alleged that the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel would have a cascading effecting and hit the common man hard.

Prasad said a "government which cannot check price is incompetent and an incompetent government has to be changed."

Acharia said, "We cannot be a mute spectator. We will continue the agitation until the government withdraws the proposal."

Terming the budget as "directionless, aimless and anti-people", BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said it will only add to the rise in price."

No  concessions

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee justified imposition of basic duty on petroleum prices saying that global crude prices were much softer than last year and there was no need to continue with the concession.

"Customs duty was withdrawn when the prices of petroleum reached as high as 122 USD per barrel. Now it is much softer and there is no reason to continue the same concession," he told reporters.

He said he had adopted a balanced approach in taxation proposals. "I have not imposed any duty which was not imposed earlier," he said.

In his Budget, Mukherjee proposed raising customs duty on petrol and diesel to 7.5 per cent from 2.5 per cent and excise duty by Re one a litre to Rs 14.35 and Rs 4.60 per litre on non-branded (normal) petrol and diesel respectively.

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