New Delhi, July 16: BJP and Congress on Wednesday slammed the AAP government's decision to hike VAT rates on petrol and diesel in Delhi as they charged that it was being done to meet its Rs 526-crore publicity budget.
BJP claimed it had foreseen the situation when the ruling AAP had raised the VAT cap by passing an amendment Bill during the Budget Session of Delhi Assembly.
"At the time, Delhi government had said we have no intention to raise prices, but barely 20 days later comes this hike," said Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay. It said that the ruling party that has "hundreds of crores" to spend on publicity alone had "no right" to raise the VAT.
Upadhyay said that hike was not needed as the national capital already has "above average VAT collection revenue".
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken's attack, too, was along similar lines as he claimed in a tweet, "To meet 526cr publicity budget- AAP increases VAT 4% on Diesel and 5% on Petrol- Soon after Budget?"
Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, meanwhile, slammed the hike as allegedly being an example of "cheating and fraud" by the Kejriwal government. "It's cheating and fraud as they are putting a burden of around Rs 5,000 crore on people of Delhi annually," claimed Gupta.
He also welcomed the Centre's decision, which came after the Delhi government's hike, to cut petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2 per litre.
Petrol and diesel prices were today cut by Rs 2 per litre, excluding local levies, in the second reduction of rates this month by oil companies.
However, petrol would actually become costlier in the national capital due to the increase in the VAT rate while the decrease in diesel prices would be lower in Delhi due to the move by the AAP government.