With no respite in sight from rising petrol and diesel prices and under fire from their political rivals over the issue, the ruling BJP on Monday hit back at the Opposition parties accusing them of indulging in false propaganda against the Central government on the matter.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, briefing newspersons at the party’s headquarters here, sought to underline that the Central government had no hand in increasing the price of fuel. “There are things which are within control and there are things which you cannot control,” Lekhi said.
She attributed the increasing prices of fuel on multiple global and domestic factors such as policy decision by the oil producing countries to cut down on production, uncertainties over the supply of oil from Iran, fall in value of rupee against the dollar, etc.
Seeking to clear the picture on the fuel price rise front, the BJP spokesperson said contrary to the perception being created by the Opposition parties, the Centre and PSUs had made no gains from the increasing rates. She said rather states had been making gains. “Let the basic issues related to fuel import and prices be understood properly and right questions are raised…Unlike what is being given out the Centre’s role essentially is very limited when it comes to pricing of fuel,” the BJP leader said.
She called upon all non- NDA states to give relief to common people by cutting down on their share of taxes on fuels just as the Centre and all NDA-led states had done.
“The Centre has taken a decision and PSUs will shoulder the burden (by bringing down fuel prices). The BJP ruled states have also followed suit. I will say that all non-BJP states including the AAP government in Delhi should show sensitivity and try and help the common citizens,” she said.
Even out of the excise duty of Rs 19 the central government earns on a litre of petrol, 42 per cent goes to the states which, she added, earn extra revenue based on the value-added tax they levy. It ranges from 26 per cent to 30 per cent for most states.
Lekhi also asked the non-BJP state governments to disclose how much they had earned on account of VAT on fuels. She said unlike the Centre, the states did not have to bear the tax burden due to repayment of oil bond prices. “It is a fact that Centre duty on fuel is fixed. The states are charging in percentage terms. The Centre had to contend with burden due to repayment of oil bond prices. No state has to face such a burden,” she said.
“Non-BJP states have not been to the mark. They should show sensitivity and help people,” she said.
While the BJP-ruled states have followed suit and effected a cut of Rs 2.5 in petrol and diesel prices like the Centre, non-BJP states have not done so, she said.