On Sunday, January 8, the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh increased the value-added tax (VAT) on diesel from 6.40 per cent to 9.96 per cent per litre. With an increased VAT, diesel prices would surge by 3 rupees per litre now. Earlier the VAT on diesel was Rs 4.40 per litre, however, after the state government’s decision, it would now go up to Rs 7.40 per litre.
Apparently, the newly-elected Congress government has forgotten its pre-poll promise that the Congress party, if voted to power, will not increase fuel prices in the state.
Ahead of assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress party had promised multiple freebies to the people of Himachal Pradesh if voted to power. Some of the freebies promised by Congress included 300 units of free electricity to household consumers, and financial assistance of Rs 1500 per month to all women aged between 18 and 60 years.
When asked by the media about the availability of funds to provide for the freebies announced, Congress party’s election observer for Himachal Pradesh Bhupesh Baghel said that the Congress party will make arrangements for it in the same way as it has been doing in other party-ruled states. He added that his party will not increase the prices of petrol and diesel for the same.
“We will make arrangements in the same way that other party-ruled states do. It will not be accomplished by raising the prices of petrol and diesel, as the incumbent government has done”, Baghel said.
The increase in diesel prices comes as CM Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu today expanded his cabinet and appointed seven MLAs as cabinet ministers, including Shimla MLA Vikramaditya Singh, son of former CM Virbhadra Singh.
Apart from Vikramaditya Singh, Shillai MLA Harshwardhan Chauhan, Kinnaur MLA Jagat Singh Negi, former chief parliamentary secretary and Jubbal Kotkhai MLA Rohit Thakur, Solan MLA Dhani Ram Shandil, Jawali MLA Chandra Kumar, and Anirudh Singh also took the oath as ministers.