The Capital of the state worst hit by the steep hike in petrol prices witnessed road blockades, cycle rallies and burning of the UPA government's effigies on Sunday. The price of petrol shot up to Rs 70.66 per litre in Hyderabad from Saturday midnight because Andhra Pradesh levies the highest value added tax (VAT) of 33 per cent.
The increase in the price of fuel would bring in additional revenue to the tune of Rs 240 crore per annum for the state exchequer in the form of VAT.
The state government's annual revenue from the sale of petroleum products, including petrol and diesel, works out to Rs 8,000 crore. From petrol alone, the state earns about Rs 300 crore a month through VAT and this amount is now set to go up to Rs 320 crore.
TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu participated in a cycle rally along with the representatives of the CPI and CPM, in protest against the UPA government's move. " In the past seven years, the Congress- led government has increased petrol prices 20 times, including 10 times last year alone," he alleged and demanded a rollback. The TDP and communist party workers burnt effigies and staged blockades at several places in the state.
YSR Congress president and Kadapa MP Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who started a 48-day fast in Guntur in support of the farmers' demand for remunerative prices, also lashed out at the UPA government for the "steepest ever" hike in the price of petrol.
Fiery protests also took place in several other parts of the country. In New Delhi, the BJP took out rallies at five places and announced that the party would organise blockades at 14 prominent places on Monday.
Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta said: "Right after the conclusion of the election process in five states, the UPA government has imposed a big burden on the people." Activists of the Samajwadi Party disrupted rail traffic at Allahabad in UP, while those from the BJP staged a dharna and demanded a rollback. In Maharashtra, too, Shiv Sena workers staged a rail roko at Lonavala in Pune district. The demonstration followed a statement by Sena chief Bal Thackeray criticising the Union government for burdening the common man with successive petrol price hikes.
In Patna, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar slammed the UPA government for the petrol price hike and said the measure would have a cascading effect on the prices of other goods.
Lashing out at the Centre, Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik said in Bhubaneswar that the ruling BJD would launch an agitation on the issue. "The petrol price hike will be another heavy burden on the common man," Patnaik said.