Cong, govt come face to face over petrol hike

Congress asked the government to give "serious thoughts" for mulling relief to aam admi.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Congress party and UPA virtually came face to face on Saturday on the issue of petrol price hike with the party asking the government to give "serious thoughts" for mulling relief to aam admi.

"The Congress party is concerned about the rise in prices. All possible steps which are required to give relief to the people, should be taken,” AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told reporters here in the capital.

"This is for the government to consider and give a serious thought and take all possible steps," he said.
Answering to a specific question whether the party wants the UPA govt to revisit the decision on fuel price hike, Dwivedi said, "Any policy, which does not give the desired result or is not good for the people, can be revisited."

Political analysts see the Congress party’s comments as an attempt to woo voters ahead of the upcoming Assembly election.

Dwivedi’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh virtually justified the hike in petrol prices, saying that the decision to decontrol the petroleum prices was a part of the process to ensure fair play in commodity market.
"These are very sensitive areas and I have no hesitation in saying ultimately we must allow the markets to find their own level except for those commodities which are semi public goods...So, the direction of change is quite clear. We must move in the direction of decontrolling more and more prices,” he had told journalists at the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Cannes.

Congress leaders, speaking privately yesterday had indicated that a partial roll-back in the petrol price hike is possible but today party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi ruled out any such specific demand by the party.

“It is for the government to decide through what methods and actions it wants to give relief to the people,” said Singhvi.
"There is a need to understand the issue in right perspective. We had made it clear yesterday itself that what the government does, how it does, in what manner it does, what methodology it finds appropriate, these are all matters which the government has to decide", Singhvi said.

UPA’s biggest constituent Trinamool Congress is furious. The party has threatened to pull out of the UPA if the govt fails to roll back the fuel price hike.
“Any more economic pressure on the people won’t be accepted by our party,” Trinamool supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made it clear.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said in Kolkata that the decision to hike petrol prices was not of the government but of the petroleum companies. He was seen wooing an irked Banerjee by saying it was "perfectly legitimate" for any UPA ally to express concern on issues like petrol price hike.

"It is perfectly legitimate for any political party which is a constituent of UPA to express concern on any issue and to discuss it with the Prime Minister. They have done exactly that," Mukherjee said.

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