LBT protest simmers in Mumbai, Thane stays calm

City’s traders, who have been protesting for over two weeks against the introduction of local body tax (LBT) in Mumbai, have turned to God for help. On the eighteenth day of the protest, apart from rallies the city also witnessed various religious rituals being performed.

While over two lakh shopkeepers gathered at Azad Maidan and threatened to continue their protest till their demands were met, traders from Nagdevi Bazaar performed a Satyanarayan puja at Abdul Rehman street yesterday.

Taxing times:  A sea of traders from across the city swarmed to Azad Maidan to register their protest against the implementation of the local body tax. (Below) A protester chants anti-government slogans during yesterday’s rally. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Sunil Gupta, general secretary of the All India Ball Bearings Merchants Association who organised the ceremony, told MiD DAY, “When the traders are willing to pay all the taxes why is the government not willing to collect it in a simplified manner?”

Protesters at Azad Maidan marched with placards and flags shouting slogans against the imposition of LBT. Shankar Kejriwal, former president of Hindustan Chamber Of Commerce, said, “We want only one tax, the government should add all the taxes under value added tax.”

Thane subdued
While Mumbai’s roads saw rallies and protests being carried out, Thane was a more peaceful sight as shops remained shut and roads were deserted yesterday.

There were no signs of remonstration as the Thane Municipal Corporation had asked shopkeepers to stay off streets and avoid protests. Malls in Thane will remain shut today as well.  

LBT will create states within a state. One product will be sold at different prices in the same state, which is very disheartening.
— Shailesh Gala, member of Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM)

We are not just revolting for the traders’ benefit. Our main aim is to stop the government from implementing the local body tax in the interest of the common man.
— Sharda Ojha, member of Shiv Sena 

— Inputs by Apeksha Shrivastava

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