The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the “arrogance of power” displayed in his assertion that there would be no rollback of the increased taxes on petroleum products announced in the budget.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said that on Wednesday morning the party would plan its floor strategy on the issue and other subjects at a meeting of National Democratic Alliance leaders.

Cut motion

It was made clear that the party wanted to use a cut motion during the vote on the Finance Bill in the second part of the budget session less as a tool to defeat the government and more to show up the fissures in the United Progressive Alliance as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Trinamool Congress have both demanded a rollback of the tax hike.

The party is hoping that Opposition unity would take place automatically and on the spur of the moment as it materialised when one party after another walked out during the budget presentation on February 26 in the Lok Sabha.

‘Rubbing salt into wounds’

Repeating its earlier allegation that despite a fresh ‘rabi’ crop in the market soon, the hike in the price of petroleum products would have a cascading effect and push prices up and strengthen the inflationary trend in the economy, the BJP described the step as akin to “rubbing salt into the inflation-inflicted wounds of the aam aadmi.”

The BJP found fault with the government saying the economy would “absorb” the tax hike and said yet another increase in petroleum product prices would take place once the currently administered prices were “deregulated.”

‘Not good economics’

The party claimed that as much as 52 per cent of the price paid by the consumer for petrol and other petroleum-based products was taxes; 40 per cent of these were Central government taxes and the rest State-imposed. The high retail price was not because of the high international price of crude, Mr. Javadekar claimed. What the government had done was not based on either sound politics or good economics, he said.

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