State Govt Likely to With­draw Lo­cal Body Tax

Cab­i­net ex­pan­sion also on cards

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

OUR PO­LIT­I­CAL BUREAU

Keep­ing an eye on the up­com­ing as­sem­bly elec­tions just four months away, the Congress in Ma­ha­rash­tra has de­cided to take some pop­ulist steps in or­der to con­trol the dam­age the party suf­fered in the LS polls and garner sup­port in the fu­ture. Se­nior party lead­ers have in­di­cated that Ma­ha­rash­tra CM Prithvi­raj Cha­van may an­nounce par­tial with­drawal of the Lo­cal Body Tax (LBT) im­posed in cer­tain mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions and also might ex­pand his Cab­i­net in or­der to ac­com­mo­date more MLAs in his govern­ment. The Congress has been hold­ing meet­ings to an­a­lyse what went wrong in the elec­tions. It has been the party’s worst-ever per­for­mance which sent only two MPs to Lok Sabha. Many party lead­ers in­sisted that the Congress should at­tempt to build bridges with groups which felt alien­ated with the party and voted against it. One such group is be­lieved to be that of traders who have been ag­i­tat­ing against the govern­ment over many is­sues. LBT was seen as one such ma­jor is­sue. Cha­van spent two days in Delhi last week and con­sulted Congress’ cen­tral lead­er­ship over mea­sures to be taken in the state to re­cover lost ground. “The much-op­posed LBT may be with­drawn in the state as a re­sult of these dis­cus­sions. Trade bod­ies in the state had ve­he­mently op­posed the in­tro­duc­tion of LBT as it was feared that it will en­cour­age red tape and cor­rup­tion in lo­cal tax col­lec­tions,” said a Con­gress­man close to Cha­van. The Congress and NCP have also been dis­cussing the long pend­ing Cab­i­net ex­pan­sion in the state. It is be­lieved that ac­com­mo­dat­ing more MLAs in the govern­ment as min­is­ters would help in reach­ing out to more districts and gen­er­ate sup­port from vot­ers for as­sem­bly polls.

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