Chennai: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said non-BJP ruled States were not passing on fuel duty cut to people, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin accused the Centre of “disguising” fuel prices cut only to hike them by several times after Assembly elections were completed in a few States. In contrast, the DMK Government, soon after coming to power, had fulfilled its electoral promise by reducing the State tax on petrol by Rs 3 per litre (as against the promise of Rs 5 per litre), he argued.
Modi’s charge echoed in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on Thursday when Congress floor leader K Selvaperunthagai raised it.
Responding, the Chief Minister said ever since the BJP came to power in the Centre in 2014, “whenever crude oil prices fell, instead of reducing petrol and diesel prices accordingly, the Union government kept the surplus to itself.”
Stalin said as the excise duty on petrol and diesel was meant to be shared with the States, post-reduction by the Centre, it affected the revenue to be shared with the States. In contrast, the Centre had sharply hiked the cess and surcharge – which need not be shared with the States -thereby affecting the people and keeping for itself several crores of rupees generated as revenue through cess.
The Chief Minister charged that only because Assembly elections were scheduled in a few States, the Centre had “pretended and disguised” as if it was reducing the fuel prices before the polling. Post-polls, the fuel prices were hiked and the burden was shifted on the people.
Citing that his Government had reduced the petrol price before the Centre, he said, “People are aware of this. I leave it to the people to decide who is truly interested in cutting down fuel prices and who is pretending to cut down the prices only to blame others.