CM Siddaramaiah challenges BJP to stage demo against Centre over 'injustice' to Karnataka

Petrol prices have gone up by Rs three per litre and diesel by Rs 3.5 per litre following the Karnataka government's decision to increase the sales tax on them.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 10:37 IST

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Bengaluru: Hitting out at the BJP over staging state-wide protests against the fuel price hike, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday challenged the party to organise demonstrations against the Centre over "injustice" to the State.

Petrol prices have gone up by Rs three per litre and diesel by Rs 3.5 per litre following the Karnataka government's decision to increase the sales tax on them on Saturday.

The Chief Minister alleged that the State faced injustice by the BJP-led NDA government in its stare of central funds and GST devolution and in matters relating to release of funds for State projects and dared the BJP to hold protests over this. Siddaramaiah said the crude oil prices were ruling at USD 113 per barrel at some stage during the tenure of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh but presently, it is at USD 82.35.

In 2015, the crude oil price was USD 52 per barrel, which decreased further in the next year, he claimed. “During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure, crude oil prices reduced but petrol prices went up. So, against whom should the BJP leaders’ fight be?” Siddaramaiah sought to know. When Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, a refill LPG cylinder was costing Rs 410. It went up to over Rs 1,000 during the NDA regime. Even after it was brought down, it is still Rs 805.50, he pointed out.

“Who increased the refill gas cylinder from Rs 410 to Rs 805.50 despite reduction in crude oil prices? If they have concern for poor people, let them stage demonstrations against the Centre,” Siddaramaiah said.

After the Centre introduced GST, the state government "lost the power" to increase taxes except petrol-diesel, liquor, stamp duty and motor taxes, the Chief Minister said. He added the Centre collected the GST, Income Tax, Corporate Tax and Excise Duty whereas the state government can only impose sales tax and fix liquor prices.

“Ever since the BJP came to power, Karnataka has suffered a loss of Rs 1.87 lakh crore in the 14th and 15th Finance Commission. Our revenues and the Centre’s contribution to the state came down. No BJP MP spoke in the Parliament though they were 25 in number in the previous Lok Sabha,” he said.

Though the 15th Finance Commission had recommended giving Karnataka Rs 5,495 crore saying that there was decline in state’s GST devolution, the Centre did not give it. Yet, the state BJP did not utter a word on it, Siddaramaiah alleged. The Chief Minister said the Centre had announced giving Rs 3,000 crore for the peripheral ring road in Bengaluru but it did not give anything. Further, it did not give Rs 3,000 crore for the lake development in Bengaluru.

The BJP-led NDA government had also announced Rs 5,300 crore for the Upper Bhadra project, which they did not give, Siddaramaiah said. BJP leaders did not speak when there was petrol and diesel price hike, despite reduction in crude oil prices in the international market, when their party was in the power at the Centre, and when the state did not receive its share of Central funds, he underlined. “Today the BJP calls the Congress government in Karnataka pauper. Do they know the meaning of pauper? Have we stopped anyone’s salary? Did we stop the grant for any project announced in the budget?” he asked.

Published 17 June 2024, 10:37 IST

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