Opposition Congress leads Kerala protests over cess on fuel, liquor in state budget

Congress observed Saturday as 'black day' and sought a rollback of the proposal to levy 'social security cess' on fuel and liquor.

ByPTI

Published Feb 04, 2023 | 5:48 PM Updated Feb 04, 2023 | 5:48 PM

The Opposition Congress in Kerala are demanding a roll back at these protests. Representative image. (Creative Commons)

The Opposition Congress in Kerala continued to hold protests on Saturday, 4 February, against the Left government’s budget proposal to impose a cess on petrol, diesel, and liquor.

They are demanding a roll back at these protests.

In Kochi, a group of Youth Congress activists attempted to jump in front of the official vehicle of the chief minister as his convoy emerged from the state-run guest house, and waved black flags at him.

However, the slogan-shouting agitators were stopped by the police who cleared the way for the chief minister’s convoy to move forward.

The protesters were later forcefully bundled into police vehicles.

Protests to continue

The Congress party observed Saturday as “black day” across the state, seeking reversal of the proposal to levy “social security cess” on fuel and liquor.

Several protests programmes, including marches and siege of petrol pumps, were organised under the aegis of various district congress committees (DCC).

According to party sources, protests would continue to be held by mandalam committees across the state in the evening.

MM Hassan, convenor of the Congress-led UDF, vehemently criticised the LDF government and said that the budget proposals were a “war cry” against the common people.

He said that a decision on more intense protests is likely to be taken in the next UDF meeting in this regard.

“This is the worst budget in the history of Kerala. It is nothing but looting of people,” the leader added.

KPCC General Secretary TU Radhakrishnan said that party workers would take out marches to district collectorates across the state on 9 February under DCCs.

Kerala’s ruling party and the budget  

Presenting the budget on Friday, Finance Minister KN Balagopal had said that it was proposed to levy a Social Security Cess on Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and on the sale of petrol and diesel as the commitment to continue protecting the decent lives to vulnerable sections of society require supplementing the financial resources.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) State Secretary MV Govindan slammed the media when they asked about the upcoming hike in the fuel price in the state following the government’s decision to impose cess on its sale.

Also Read: Kerala decries ‘step-motherly’ attitude in Union Budget

He charged that when the BJP-led Union government had hiked the petrol and diesel price to an exorbitant rate, the media was ‘silent’ over it.

“It was the Centre which had constantly increased the fuel price. It is the reason for the inflation,” he claimed.

Govindan also indicated that the cess on liquor, petrol, and diesel was just a budget proposal and not a final decision.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)