The BJP will soon launch a protest against the Madhya Pradesh government's decision to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by five per cent, a party leader said on Monday.
This is against the promise made by the ruling Congress before the state elections last year, Leader of the Opposition in MP Assembly Gopal Bhargava told PTI.
"We will soon announce a statewide agitation against the five per cent hike in VAT on petrol and diesel in Madhya Pradesh. We will finalise details of the agitation soon after our state president (Rakesh Singh) returns from his foreign tour," Bhargava said.
He said the Congress had promised to reduce the cost of two fuels in the state by Rs 5, in its manifesto before coming to power in the state last year.
"It was not 'Vachan Patra', but 'Jhoot Patra' (false manifesto). The increased cost of the two fuels is causing lot of hardships to people," he said.
The petrol pump owners in the state have also opposed the VAT hike, claiming that prices of two two fuels in Madhya Pradesh are now highest in the country.
Citing extensive damage caused by heavy rains in MP, the Congress-led state government increased five per cent VAT on petrol and diesel from Friday midnight to generate additional revenue. It also hiked the VAT on liquor by five per cent.
"We are planning to hold a protest by shutting down the petrol pumps soon," Madhya Pradesh Petrol Pump Owners Association's president Ajay Singh said.
After this increase, the diesel price went up by Rs 3.13 per litre and petrol by Rs 3.24 per litre in Bhopal on Saturday, he said.
On Saturday, the petrol was sold at Rs 81.49 per litre and diesel at Rs 72.78 per litre in the state.
With the government's decision, the VAT on diesel has gone up to 23 per cent, in addition to cess of about Rs 2 per litre. Similarly, the VAT on petrol has gone up to 33 per cent in addition to cess of about Rs 3.5 per litre.
"When compared to Rajasthan, there is a difference of about Rs 4.99 per litre in the price of petrol and Rs 1.86 per litre of diesel. In comparison to Maharashtra, the difference is up to Rs 2.5 per litre on the two fuels," Singh claimed.
Meanwhile, a senior government official said as per initial estimates, the state has suffered a loss of Rs 11,900 crore due to excessive rainfall this monsoon.
"The five per cent VAT hike will be a temporary measure," he added.