Chandrababu Naidu stages bullock cart protest to oppose fuel price hike

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Hyderabad, March 2 (ANI): Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other his party leaders on Tuesday took out a protest march riding a bullock cart upto the State Assembly to protest recent hike in fuel prices in the General Budget.

After riding the bullock cart, Naidu, the main opposition leader in Andhra Pradesh, switched over to a bicycle and pedalled his way to the legislature building.

The bullock cart ride was a part of protest organised by regional Telugu Desam Party along with the Communist Party of India-Marxist. The other state legislators also joined Naidu and pedalled their way to assembly to attend the session on bicycles.

India raised retail motor fuel prices by up to 7.75 percent last week, the first hike since July last.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Friday (Feb. 26) restored a 5 percent import tax on crude oil, which was removed in 2008 when global prices were at record highs, as part of a broader effort to raise revenue and cut fiscal deficit.

The tax hikes on refined fuel and crude in the budget prompted opposition protests in parliament, with parliamentarians walking out during the Union Finance Minister's speech.

Even some key allies of the Congress led government expressed unhappiness over government's decision.

India sets retail prices for fuel below market rates to protect its citizens from higher prices and manage inflation. The subsidy adds to New Delhi's fiscal burden.

A recent government panel report urged the freeing of controls over automotive fuels, though the government has not taken any action as yet on the politically charged issue. By Jyothi (ANI)

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