Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 7 (IANS) Even as the Congress-led opposition and the BJP in Kerala have announced statewide protests against the levy of Rs 2 as fuel cess, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told a meeting of his Left Front legislators that the ongoing protests are nothing but a politically-motivated and the people at large have no major issues.
It was on Friday that state Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal presented the budget and in it was the rather surprising fuel cess of Rs 2. Soon protests broke out all across the state.
The Congress-led opposition launched a two-pronged attack -- inside the in-session Assembly and statewide protests.
Four opposition legislators on Monday started an indefinite day-and-night protest in the foyer of the Assembly demanding withdrawal of taxes, including the fuel cess, proposed in the annual budget.
On Tuesday, protests were widespread in the state by Congress-led UDF workers. At some places, the protesters clashed with the police.
Vijayan's statement at the Left Front's meeting has come as a surprise to many, especially to the CPI - the second biggest ally of the Front. They are tight-lipped and waiting for Balagopal's reply to the budget on Wednesday.
A media critic on condition of anonymity said all eyes are on Balagopal's reply and remains to be seen if there will be any roll back and even though Vijayan's position remains tough, there could be Re one reduction.
'If there is going to be a total roll back, it will be seen as a moral victory for the Congress-led opposition and that's what Vijayan would not like to have. Either way, the coming days are going to be tough as across the board the sentiments against him are rapidly increasing and allies like CPI are also getting jittery,' said the media critic.
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