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Unease in Congress over petrol price hike

The steep hike in petrol price today caused unease in the Congress with party MPs fearing it could lead to a huge blacklash.

New Delhi: The steep hike in petrol price today caused unease in the Congress with party MPs fearing it could lead to a huge blacklash but a section of party leaders felt it was unavoidable at a time when the focus was on economic reforms.

"There is a compulsion. What to do? Either you sacrifice the economy for immediate gains or all of us share the burden. There is no other option taking into account the economy worldwide," senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Satyavrata Chaturvedi said.

He said that while on one hand, there is talk of reforms, on the other hand protests are being made whenever any tough decision is taken.

Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi said, "It is a very difficult decision. But at the same time petrol prices are deregulated and petrol companies are independent to take their decision."

A party MP speaking on the condition of anonymity, however, said that such steep hikes will be damaging for the party and that a number of MPs particularly those from Lok Sabha are "unhappy" with it as they will have a tough time in their constituencies explaining the move.

In the steepest ever increase, petrol rates were today raised by a massive Rs 7.54 per litre, the first hike in rates in six months. This is the steepest hike in petrol price ever, the previous high being Rs 5 per litre. The rates were last increased on November 4 last year.

After the November hike, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi had said, "Any policy, which does not give the desired result or is not good for the people, can be revisited." He had, however, refused to specifically answer whether the party wants government to review the decision to deregulate petrol prices.

He had then also said that the party was concerned about the rise in prices and that all possible steps, which are required to give relief to the people, should be taken and that this was party`s suggestion.


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