Karnataka: BJP Leader Dies Of Cardiac Arrest During Protest Against Fuel Price Hike

MB Bhanuprakash collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest while getting into his car after addressing BJP workers at the protest in Karnataka's Shivamogga against state government's fuel price hike move

Bhanuprakash (69), had earlier served as the party's state vice-president and district president

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former MLC MB Bhanuprakash died of cardiac arrest in Karnataka's Shivamogga on Monday during a protest organised by the party against the state government's recent decision to increase VAT on petrol and diesel, resulting in a price hike of the fuels .

Bhanuprakash (69), who had earlier served as the party's state vice-president and district president, led the protest in Shivamogga and addressed the workers. He collapsed while getting into his car, a police source was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

"He collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest while getting into his car," the police source said. "He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but could not be saved."

Petrol prices have gone up by Rs three per litre and diesel by Rs 3.5 per litre following the Karnataka government's decision to increase the sales tax on them on Saturday.

Slamming the BJP over staging state-wide protests against the fuel price hike, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday challenged the party to organise demonstrations against the Centre over "injustice" to the State.

As the BJP called for protest over the decision of the Karnataka government to increase VAT on petrol and diesel, chief minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said that state's taxes on fuel remain lower than most south Indian states "and similar economy-sized states like Maharashtra".

According to officials, the hike is aimed at resource mobilisation. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is also the Finance minister, reviewed the state's revenue generation and fiscal position and took the decision.

The increase in fuel prices comes days after the Lok Sabha election results, in which NDA got 19 out of 28 seats in Karnataka, with the BJP winning 17 and JD(S) two. The ruling Congress in the state won nine seats.

Reacting to the criticism by BJP, Karntaka CM Siddaramaiah put out a series posts on X on Sunday. He said, "The Government of Karnataka has increased VAT on petrol to 29.84% and on diesel to 18.44%. Even after this hike, our state’s taxes on fuel remain lower than most South Indian states and similar economy-sized states like Maharashtra."

Despite the VAT hike, diesel prices in Karnataka are still lower than in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the chief minister said, adding that his government remains "committed to keeping fuel prices reasonable for citizens."