In an exclusive interview with Nagpur Today, Veteran Congress leader and former MP Vilas Muttemwar said that LBT was and is a serious issue. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had raised this issue on number of occasions. They had mobilized traders and businessmen and had created an impression that LBT is a source of corruption of the Democratic Front (Aghadi Sarkar). This was proclaimed by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Looto Bato Tax while addressing a private rally in Maharashtra. He had claimed that as soon as we come to power, we’ll abolish LBT. At that point of time, BJP never mentioned that BJP will discuss about ‘Alternatives to LBT’.
Since Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis hails from Vidarbha, Nagpur, the traders and business community had high hopes from him.
Former MP Vilas Muttemwar claimed that when the Traders’ Rally against LBT called Vyapari Morcha on LBT Sangarsh Samiti was taken out, he was also a part of that rally to Vidhan Sabha.
Devendra Fadnavis had allegedly claimed publicly that he has many alternatives to LBT. He had also claimed that this issue of LBT can be solved in 2 days. However Devendra Fadnavis had claimed that the then government is not ready to talk or discuss the issue with him.
Vilas Muttemwar said that now that Devendra Fadnavis himself is the Government, why is he not abolishing the LBT. He added that LBT issue was so important that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis had promised to abolish the LBT the moment BJP comes to power. Not only that, LBT was one of the salient points in the BJP manifesto. They had appealed to the traders and business community that bring us to power and LBT will be dealt with top-most priority and will be abolished within 8 days of our coming to power.
Vilas Muttemwar said that Devendra Fadnavis had taken oath on October 31, 2014. It is 22 days since he took oath, but the LBT has not been abolished as yet. Instead, the State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar says that yes we had promised to abolish LBT, because that issue was very popular and the traders were happy with our announcement then. However, abolishing of LBT will take time. Mungantiwar is alleged to have said that more-over work is on at National level over Goods and Service Tax (GST) which is in the offing soon, so we’ll wait for that.
Before elections, all the Traders and Trade Organizations had openly participated in BJP Election campaign. However, now they stand exposed. Former MP Vilas Muttemwar claimed that every day many traders and businessmen go to him and are allegedly claiming that BJP has betrayed them. When they have a fool-proof plan to abolish LBT and charge such a tax which is convenient to the traders, why is there a delay in abolishing LBT. Vilas Muttemwar added that it is high time, BJP should apologize to the traders and business community and tell clearly that they are sorry and that they are unable to fulfill their promises. He went on to add that this is a clear case of “Ullu Banaving” (fooling). He also said that though our party was ruling, we had dared to go against our own government in the State and the Centre to support traders and for the abolishment of LBT. It is very unfortunate that the traders are getting a raw deal in the entire issue. If they keep mum over the issue, they will have to suffer more problems, claimed Vilas Muttemwar.