Bengaluru, Jul 12: Former chief minister Siddaramaiah has asked his successor H D Kumaraswamy to withdraw the budgetary proposal to hike taxes on fuel, and also to restore 7 kg of rice per person under the Anna Bhagya scheme for below the poverty line (BPL) families.
The two issues were hotly debated during the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting held here on Wednesday. Siddaramaiah said he had written to the incumbent chief minister requesting him to withdraw the proposed hike in taxes on petrol and diesel and to drop the proposal reducing the amount of rice given to individual as part of the scheme from 7 kg to 5 kg.
At a programme where Dinesh Gundu Rao took charge as Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, the former CM said the proposed hike on taxes on petrol and diesel would go against the party’s national stance, though fuel prices in Karnataka were the lowest among southern States.
To mobilise resources to write off the Rs 34,000 crore farm loans taken from cooperative and nationalised banks, Kumaraswamy, in his budget, proposed to increase the tax on petrol from 30% to 32% and diesel from 19% to 21%. Tax on liquor has been proposed to increase by 4% and that on consumption of electricity from 6% to 9%.
Sources said, at the CLP meeting, several legislators demanded immediate withdrawal of the proposal to hike the taxes on fuel. With Lok Sabha elections less than a year away, the legislators reportedly told the CLP chairman, Siddaramaiah, that the hike, if effected, would not help the party in the elections.
On legislators’ complaint about the proposal to reduce the quantum of rice being supplied under the PDS for BPL households by 2 kg, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he had written to the Chief Minister requesting him not to reduce the quantum of rice since “the objective of the Anna Bhagya scheme is to make Karnataka free from hunger”.
In the legislature, some JD(S) MLAs, including A.T. Ramaswamy, had also sought restoration of the quantum of rice under the scheme.
Legislators from north Karnataka, at the CLP meeting, spoke on the alleged neglect of their region in the budget. Senior leader and former Minister H.K. Patil in a letter to the Chief Minister had expressed his disappointment over the alleged discrimination against the region.
Take a U-turn from fuel tax hike, reduction of Anna Bhagya rice quantity: Siddu tells HDK