Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday demanded that the rates of taxes on petrol and diesel should be brought down to those in force during the UPA government. The Narendra Modi government slashed the excise duty on the two fuels only due to the jolt it suffered in the last month’s byelections, the Congress leader claimed.
Baghel was addressing a function at his official residence on the occasion of the Govardhan Puja festival.
“Petrol prices were cut by Rs 5. They had earlier hiked the price by Rs 30, and now reduced it by just Rs 5 and are trying to get appreciation for that,” he said.
The Union government slashed excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10 on the eve of Diwali. During the previous Congress-led UPA government, the excise duty on petrol was Rs 9.27 per litre which has now increased to over Rs 30, Baghel said.
“The excise tax should be brought down to Rs 9, then the prices of petrol will decrease further,” he added. “The loss in the recent bypolls (suffered by the BJP) resulted in the reduction of petrol and diesel prices.
Therefore, if they face defeat in the elections in five states next year, the prices will come down to the level during the time of UPA government,” Baghel said.
“In Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan (where the BJP suffered setbacks in byelections) people have shown their strength, as a result of which the prices of petrol and diesel came down,” he said.
Chhattisgarh was the only state where farmers get a procurement price of over Rs 2,500 per quintal for paddy, the chief minister noted. Farmers in the state were given input subsidy under the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna over and above the support price (fixed by the Centre), he said.
“It (procurement price) will increase next year too and before the (next assembly) election, it will reach around Rs 2,800 per quintal,” the chief minister added. Baghel also appealed farmers not to burn stubble in paddy fields after harvest so as to avoid air pollution.