BJP slams tax reduction move; Vajpayee to lead NDA protest

via published on June 11, 2006

NEW DELHI: Slamming as a “diversionary tactic” the reduction in sales tax on petrol and diesel by Congress-run state Governments, the Opposition BJP said its top brass led by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would court arrest here on Monday in protest against the hike in fuel prices.

Virtually ruling out BJP-ruled state Government following suit in sales tax reduction, party spokesman Prakash Javadekar charged the Congress party with “trying to divert attention from the real issue of high taxation”.

“The real issue is high taxation by the Central Government in the form of excise. In the petrol cost structure, 49 per cent is fuel cost, 31 per cent is central taxes and 16 per cent average sales tax. We have the highest taxation in the world and the Government is doing nothing,” he told PTI over phone from Jammu.

The Central Government, he said, should first reduce the excessive tax burden on the people. “Then only it will have a moral right to call all the Chief Ministers and Finance Ministers for a conference to arrive at a uniform sales tax.

“Such isolated reduction is no solution,” he said when asked whether BJP states too would follow suit.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader V K Malhotra told PTI that Vajpayee himself would be leading the NDA protest at Jantar Mantar against hike in fuel prices and would court arrest.

Leader of Oppositon L K Advani, BJP Chief Rajnath Singh, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi, BJD leader Braj Kishore Tripathy and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee are among the leaders expected to take part in the protests.

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