Congress legislators protest in Kerala assembly against fuel cess

by IANS |

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 6 (IANS) After the Rs-2 fuel cess was introduced in the state budget presented by Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal, four Congress legislators on Monday began an indefinite protest in the foyer of the legislative assembly, when the session opened after the holiday break.

The Congress legislators arrived with placards inside the assembly and started shouting slogans during the Question hour.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, while taking part in the budget discussion, announced that four legislators will continue an indefinite protest in the foyer of the house till the minister rolls back the Rs-2 cess announced in the budget.

Outside the assembly, Youth Congress activists arrived with a two-wheeler, poured petrol over it and set it ablaze to register their protest against the fuel cess.

The agile fire force acted quickly and doused the flames.

Normal traffic was disrupted in the state capital city for 3 hours following the protests and the police had to use water cannons to ward away the protesters. Some of the protesters were also taken into custody.

However, Balagopal defended the hike, treading the normal path. He told the assembly that the opposition is hand in glove with the BJP, who is strangulating Kerala through its policies and sadly the Congress has joined them.

"One cannot take a stand that no taxes can be there because salaries, pension and development of the state has to go forward," said Balagopal.

The social media is buzz with activity with several people attacking Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his government on the indiscriminate fuel cess, as just recently, the Left had staged a state-wide protest against the Centre's fuel price hike.

Differences on this issue have also cropped up in the ruling Left Front, with ally CPI expressing their displeasure on this cess. Though, they have decided to wait till Balagopal gives his reply to the budget on Wednesday.

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