In a dramatic bid to protest the recent hike in petrol,diesel,kerosene and cooking gas prices,MLAs of ruling Biju Janata Dal on Monday rode cycle to the Assembly.
Barely able to straddle the bicycles,about 40 Biju Janata Dal MLAs rode past the gaping people on the busy Sachivalay Marg from BJD state office to the Assembly raising slogans against the fuel price rise.
The MLAs carried placards containing graffitis against fuel price hike. However,the BJD ministers did not ride the cycles.
On Saturday,several BJD legislators had staged a protest in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Assembly premises soon after the Question Hour. Hundreds of activists and leaders of BJDs youth wing also staged a march raising slogans against the decision and staged a protest near Raj Bhawan.
However,opposition leaders described the cycle-riding as mere drama. The prices of petroleum products were hiked 21 times during the BJD-NDA regime, said Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh. Former BJP MP and president of Utkal Bharat,Kharavela Swain said the State government can bring down various taxes on fuel if it is serious about its intentions. The state imposes 23 per cent tax on fuel including VAT,entry tax,central sales tax as well as dealing charge. If chief minister Naveen Patnaik is so concerned about the poor,he can start by not imposing some of the taxes, said Swain.
The opposition leader also said he does not oppose the fuel price hike. Over 80 per cent of the fuel we use,comes from abroad. We can do little if international prices go up, Swain said.