Traders play vote card to get rid of LBT

Retailers have decided to cast their votes only to the political party supporting their stand on abolishing LBT; AAP and BJP have extended their support to this cause

With political parties gearing up for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the traders too are not far behind in etching their political strategies.

Agitated: Traders protesting against LBT in Pimpri Chinchwad. File Pic.

Game plan
Kolhapur-based traders' association, Vyapari Mitra, along with various traders associations across the state placed a strange condition before political parties to make their voices heard. The traders sent a letter to office bearers of all political parties in the state asking for their support in abolishing the Local Body Tax (LBT). Not only this, the traders have decided to cast their votes only to the political party that assured their support in abolishing LBT.

Extending support
Interestingly, it was Aam Aadmi Party, which first acknowledged their request and sent a letter to the Vyapari Mitra extending its support.

“Bharatiya Janata Party has also given its support to us and not only the traders but we assure that our families too will vote for the party, which would stand strongly against the unjust provisions in LBT,” said the president of Vyapari Mitra, Mohan Gurnani. The traders also took a pledge to oust the present Congress-NCP government in the state, which forced the LBT on them.

In March 2013, after the introduction of LBT across the state, various trade organisations protested against it, fearing that such a law would increase harassment and corruption from local authorities. This tax was also noted as extraneous, while Value Added Tax (VAT) was still under implementation.

Determined to get what they demand, Popatlal Oswal, president of Pune traders' Association, said, “We have sent the letter to the state and national presidents of each political party, seeking their support to abolish LBT. If our demand of abolishing the tax is not fulfilled before January 31, we would show our strength in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by voting against the ruling coalition.”

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