Mukherjee to brief UPA allies on fuel price hike, NDA leaders to meet

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New Delhi, Mar 3 (ANI): Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will brief United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies on fuel price hike issue today.

Sources said the Centre is going to brief its allies, the Left, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Significantly, the estranged partners of the UPA- RJD, SP and the BSP parties are lending outside support to Dr Singh's Government and are also in sync with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in not letting the opportunity be wasted on embarrassing the UPA Government on the issue.

The Left, too, is with the Opposition on the issue and has resolved to bring cut motions in Parliament.

Meanwhile, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till noon on Wednesday as the opposition protested over the fuel price hike.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Opposition has demanded a rollback on the fuel hike placing the Central Government under pressure after a four-day break.

The BJP has planned to take Opposition unity on this issue to a new plane even as the Left parties decided to step up pressure on the government leading to its March 12 rally in the capital against rise in the prices of essential commodities.

The opposition would plan its strategy on this issue today and other subjects at a meeting of National Democratic Alliance leaders.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for the "arrogance of power" displayed in his assertion that there would be no rollback of the increased taxes on petroleum products announced in the budget.

The opposition said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has added salts to the wounds.

Dr Singh had on Monday ruled out any rollback in petrol and diesel prices, saying the economy has the capacity to absorb the increase without triggering inflationary pressure.

He said the fuel price hike would affect the wholesale price index (WPI) by no more than 0.4 per cent.

"Increase in prices does hurt some people, but we have to take a long-term view," he said making it clear following populist fiscal policies for long would harm the economy.

"Sooner or later these populist policies if persisted for a long time to come will lead to the erosion of the investment climate," he added. (ANI)

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