State Govt Likely to Withdraw Local Body Tax
Cabinet expansion also on cards
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 “The much-opposed LBT may be withdrawn in the state as a result of these discussions.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.