CHENNAI: Members of the ruling AIADMK staged protest demonstrations across the state against the recent petrol price hike and demanded that the Centre immediately announce a rollback.
When contacted about the protests, officials refused to comment on the possibility of the Tamil Nadu government reducing VAT on petrol like some other states after the hike. Tamil Nadu levies among the highest rates of VAT on petrol among the 10 states in the country with the most tax on fuel, ranging between 25% and 33%.
Former chief minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who cut the tax on petrol from 30% to 27% when the petrol price was increased by the Centre during his regime, recently said the state government should reduce its tax on the petrol.
On Tuesday, senior AIADMK leaders, MPs and MLAs joined hundreds of party workers to raise slogans in front of Central government offices against the petrol price hike of over Rs 7.50 per litre. The hike has been strongly criticised by several political parties including UPA allies.
AIADMK workers staged demonstrations in four places in Chennai, and took out protest marches in several cities in the state as well as in Puducherry, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Party workers also staged demonstrations at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Jayalalithaa criticised the hike as a "gift" to the people by the Congress-led UPA government on completion of three years of its second term in office and said the Centre appeared to be ignoring the interests of the people and public sentiment.
The AIADMK's protest came a day ahead of an agitation called by DMK, a key UPA constituent, which will be led by party patriarch M Karunanidhi.
Jayalalithaa had said earlier that "wrong" economic policy of the UPA government was responsible for the price rise, steep depreciation of the rupee and the economic slowdown. "The latest petrol price hike had only added fuel to the fire," she said.
The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Division is entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for, works to the tune of Rs.2 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.