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BJP corners govt over Haj subsidy
December 15, 2004 19:35 IST
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday cornered the government on plans to phase out subsidy on kerosene and LPG while maintaing the same for Haj.
"We take strong objection to the government's plans to phase out subsidy on kerosene and cooking gas on the one hand and reverse the National Democratic Alliance government's decision not to give any Haj subsidy to Income Tax payees on the other," BJP parliamentary party spokesman V K Malhotra said in New Delhi.
He said it was "very unfortunate" that the government felt that the subsidy on kerosene and LPG would benefit the rich while "the richest of the rich" were being provided Haj subsidy.
"Of the 178 countries in the world, no country gives Haj subsidy. No Muslim country provides subsidy. Several Parliamentary Committees had also opined that the Haj subsidy should be gradually phased out", he said.
He said the government's arguments against continuing subsidy on LPG and kerosene was "preposterous" as the maximum beneficiaries were slum dwellers and the middle class.
"Moreover, the oil companies have made a profit of over Rs 30,000 crores", he said.
Voicing concern over the government's proposed moratorium on minimum support price of wheat and rice for three years, he demanded that the MSP for wheat be hiked by Rs 30.