Cong top brass meets amid speculation over diesel price hike
New Delhi: Congress top brass including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party President Sonia Gandhi Friday held deliberations amid speculation of a possible hike in diesel and LPG prices.
The meeting witnessed the attendance of Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily, Waters Resources Minister Harish Rawat and Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal apart from the regular members of the Congress Core Group.
Sources said that the meeting discussed the report of Vijay Kelkar Committee, which was appointed by the Finance Ministry to suggest a roadmap for fiscal consolidation.
The panel had recommended an immediate hike in price of diesel by Rs 4 per litre, of kerosene by Rs 2 a litre and of LPG by Rs 50 per cylinder. Thereafter, it suggested raising rates on a monthly basis till revenue losses are wiped off.
The party, however, remained tighlipped on whether the diesel prices will be increased with Congress spokesperson Sandip Dikshit saying that the party will respond on the issue only when a decision is taken by the Government.
Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily said that the government will take a decision on raising diesel and cooking fuel prices along with increasing number of subsidised LPG cylinders for households "as quickly as possible".
The meeting of Congress Core Group also came in the backdrop of the brutal killing of Indian soldiers along Line of Control, which has led to widespread outrage in the country.
The meeting also discussed Cauveri Water dispute, where Rawat is learnt to have told the leadership about the contradictory stand being adopted by Karnataka in the Supreme Court and outside on the issue of notifying the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
The meeting was also significant as it took place ahead of the Chintan Baithak being held in Jaipur on January 18-19. Gandhi has already been presented reports by high level subcommittees of the party on various issues including on Emerging Political Challenges and Orgnaisational Issues.
Gandhi also held a meeting at her residence in evening in this regard, where party leader Digvijay Singh, A K Antony Ghulam Nabi Azad and Moily were present.