Consensus on contentious issues is Reddy''s mantra

New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) S Jaipal Reddy, who was todaynamed the new Oil Minister, will focus on consensus buildingon contentious issues like fuel price hikes that have becomenecessary in view of rising international crude oil prices.

"The task confronting the petroleum ministry and thecountry are common," Reddy, who was moved from the UrbanDevelopment Ministry to the Ministry of Petroleum and NaturalGas, told PTI.

There were rumours doing the rounds that Reddy''spredecessor Murli Deora and his junior Jitin Prasada weremoved out of the Petroleum Ministry over the last week''s Rs2.50 per litre hike in petrol prices.

Reddy said he will "study the problem" of high global oilprices and "take decisions in consultations" with Cabinet.

The Petroleum Ministry is the only ministry where boththe Cabinet Minister and the Minister of State were moved outin what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called a "minorreshuffle."

The price hike had not been received well within Congressin view of the already spiralling food prices.

"In politics, nothing should come as a surprise," Reddysaid commenting on his unexpected move to the oil ministry.

"This is not a new government. This is a new minister inan old government. When a new minister takes over, the policydoes not change," he said. "Whatever decision is taken it willbe taken by the Cabinet."

With oil companies pressing for a hike in diesel anddomestic LPG prices after global oil prices rose to USD 92 perbarrel, he said a balance would have to be stuck.

"To some extent all of us have to bear a burden. Nogovernment would like to impose these hikes on people.

"If we are going for hike in diesel, it will have acascading effect. I appreciate the problem (of common man) butwe will have to strike a balance between the appreciation ofproblem of common man and the larger problem that our countryfaces in respect of rising international oil prices," he said.

Deora, on the other hand, said he was thankful to thePrime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi for "givingsuch an important portfolio of Corporate Affairs."

He immediately got down to business, getting a briefingon the ministry from the Secretary in his new ministry.

Asked about the difficulties being faced in the wake ofrising crude oil prices, Reddy said he would not take anydecision in haste and would consult others and go to theCabinet whenever necessary. .

Moving effortless from one television interview to other, speaking in English, Hindi and Telgu, Reddy said rising crudeprices could pose some difficulties.

"The burden has to be borne by everyone... but I''m notgoing to take any decision in haste. I''ll consult people andwill go to Cabinet wherever necessary," he said.

Commenting on decisions taken by the ministry under hispredecessor, Reddy said: "Deora''s decisions were notindividual decisions, but government decisions.

"Deora''s policy will continue, but if necessary, a newpolicy will be evolved," he said.

"Governance is a continuous process... I''ll try andunderstand this ministry," Reddy said.

Reddy, who apparently had been given an indication aboutthe change, appeared well versed with the subject of his newministry.

"The fundamentals are that in 24 hours, no miracle canhappen. I''ll do my best in the new assignment. I handled animportant portfolio earlier and this is an equally importantand sensitive ministry," he said.

"I thank UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime MinisterManmohan Singh for giving me this responsibility," Reddy said.

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