Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Modi over his ‘swipe’ at the states for not reducing petrol, diesel taxes and said 68% of all fuel taxes are taken by the Centre but the PM blames the state.

“Be it the high fuel price, coal shortage or oxygen shortage, the Centre passes the buck to the states, as Modi’s “federalism is not cooperative”, it’s “coercive”, Rahul Gandhi said.

Addressing the Chief Ministers, PM Modi gave the example of petrol, diesel tax and said some states reduced their VAT on fuel after Centre waived the tax last year. But some states did not, which is an injustice to their people and also to the states which have reduced the tax.

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Naming Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Jharkhand, PM Modi said these states have not reduced the tax on fuel and have been earning more revenue than states like Karnataka, Gujarat which have reduced the fuel tax.

The issue has snowballed into a massive controversy with each of the states named by PM Modi disagreeing with the claims PM Modi made. Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri countered the states and said petrol will be cheaper if opposition-ruled states cut taxes on fuel instead of imported liquor.

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“BJP ruled States have a VAT on petrol & diesel in the range of Rs 14.50 to Rs 17.50 /ltr, while taxes levied by states ruled by other parties are in the range of Rs 26 to Rs 32 /ltr. The difference is clear. Their intent is only to protest & criticise, not extend relief to the people,” the Union minister said.

To this, Sena leader, Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said the Centre is yet to give Rs 78.704 crore GST compensation to the states.

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Telangana minister KT Rama Rao also said fuel prices have shot up because of the NPA central government.

“Name-calling states for not reducing VAT even though we never increased it; is this the co-operative federalism you’re talking about @narendramodi ji? Telangana hasn’t increased VAT on fuel since 2014 & rounded off only once,” the minister said.

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West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government spent Rs 1,500 crore in the last three years to subsidise petrol and diesel prices in the state.

“PM Narendra Modi has delivered a completely one-sided and misleading speech. Facts shared by him were wrong. We have been providing a subsidy of Re 1 on every litre of petrol and diesel for the last three years. We’ve spent Rs 1,500 crore on this,” Mamata said after Wednesday’s meeting.