Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 8 (IANS): Contrary to expectations, Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal on Wednesday refuted reports that he will reduce the Rs 2 fuel cess that was included in his budget speech for the year 2023-24.
Instead he took pot shots at the Congress led opposition while speaking in the assembly on the budget and said, "based on the media reports that a Re one reduction will be made, the opposition started a protest and because of that they failed to see the good things in the budget,", said Balagopal.
"This cess is going into a separate account and this is not going to be a burden on the people. The Pinarayi Vijayan government is not arrogant and it's because all are going through very tough times and to take care that the social welfare pensions continue," said Balagopal.
As soon as the Minister ended his speech, the Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan led a walk out and told the media outside the assembly that there has been no reduction in the cess because of the arrogance of Vijayan.
"We will not cooperate with this fuel cess and we will continue our strike inside and outside the assembly," said Satheesan.
Incidentally in the foyer of the assembly four opposition legislators are staging an indefinite protest, which has entered the third day. All eyes are now on what will happen to this protest after Thursday evening, when the assembly session breaks for a while and will resume in the last week of this month.
Meanwhile during the day the Congress party workers took to the streets across the state. At certain places there were skirmishes with the police and protesters were taken into custody.