Fuel price hike was necessary: Sonia Gandhi

Even as Parliament witnessed a week-long logjam over price rise, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has justified the hike in fuel prices saying it was "necessary".

Last Updated: Aug 02, 2010, 19:00 PM IST

New Delhi: Even as Parliament witnessed a
week-long logjam over price rise, Congress president Sonia
Gandhi has justified the hike in fuel prices saying it was
"necessary" and has been done for increasing the availability
of funds for social sector schemes.

"An increase in prices is never a pleasant thing.
However, this has been done for a number of reasons including
increasing the availability of funds for our social sector
schemes," Gandhi said in her message to Congressmen in party
mouthpiece `Congress Sandesh`.

Gandhi also sought to turn the tables on the NDA which
criticised the government on this issue, saying, "While the
NDA raised the prices of diesel and petrol 31 and 28 times
respectively in their five-year tenure, the UPA kept a close
vigil on prices changing it on nine occasions in six years."

She claimed that UPA throughout its tenure worked to
ensure that the `aam admi` (common man) is shielded from
burden of rising oil prices in international market.

"It is important that Congresspersons across the country
understand why the current hike was necessary and how the
prices was kept to a minimum. This message must be shared with
people," Gandhi said.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Jayanthi
Natarajan said that the efforts undertaken by the government
to control inflation are showing results.

"We welcome the fact that food inflation in particular
has started showing a downward trend and has gone back to
single digit due to serious efforts and policies of the
government," Natarajan said.

Her remarks came a day when Parliament returned to normal
functioning after remaining paralysed for a full week soon
after the Monsoon Session began. The deadlock occurred due to
the opposition`s insistence for a discussion on price rise
under a motion which entails voting, which the government did
not accept.

The ruling and the opposition parties came to an
agreement today after a decision was taken to adopt a
resolution in both Houses expressing concern over the impact
of inflation on the common man.

Echoing similar concerns, the party spokesperson said
Congress is aware that the issue of inflation, particularly of
food inflation is "very sensitive" but voiced confidence that
"In days and weeks to come, the steps taken by our government
will continue to impact prices and bring them down."

Natarajan, however, dismissed a suggestion that the
resolution being adopted by the government over price is a
self-indictment and is contrary to what the party is saying.

"The resolution is in no way an indictment of the
government...there is no dichotomy between the resolution and
what I say," she said.

PTI