Sonia for partial rollback of petrol price hike
New Delhi, June 6: Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora met UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi here this evening, and sources said that she had pressed for a partial rollback of the petrol price hike, effected yesterday.
Mr Deora, who had a nearly 30-minute meeting with Mrs Gandhi at her official residence at 10, Janpath, was summoned by her to convey to him the Congress Party's concern over the steep hike of Rs 4 per litre in the petrol price.
The Congress is of the view that while the international ruling price of crude was at its highest ever and the hit was being taken by the oil marketing companies, the unprecedented hike of Rs 4 on petrol would bear harshly on the common man.
There are pressures within the party for a partial rollback.
Mr Deora, who left the residence of the Congress President without any comment to the large press contingent, is understood to have rushed to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sources said he would apprise the Prime Minister of the views of Ms Gandhi.
Mr Deora's meeting with Ms Gandhi was a sequel to last evening's meeting of the AICC Officer bearers held at the Congress Headquarters. The meeting, chaired by AICC Treasurer Moti Lal Vora, expressed concern of the party General Secretaries who demanded a rethink of the decision by the Government to hike fuel prices.
The outcome of the AICC Office bearers meeting was conveyed to the Petroleum Minister last night itself, a General Secretary told UNI here.
Mr Deora conveyed to Ms Gandhi the compulsions of the Government to carry out the increase in prices of petrol and diesel and how the Petroleum Ministry had taken utmost care to protect the weak and the vulnerable by sparing a price increase in LPG and kerosene.
Mr Deora had categorically stated last night that there would be no rollback on fuel prices as there was no scope for doing so.
Meanwhile, Congress Spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said that the party has sincerely conveyed to the Government the feelings of the people of the country. Despite the compulsions and the international movement of prices, the Government should sincerely consider a methodology of minimising the impact on the common man ,farmers and other disadvantaged sections, Mr Singhvi said.
The Congress has demanded a reduction in the price hike in petrol, Mr Singhvi told UNI here.
Ever since the prices of petrol and deisel were increased by Rs 4 and Rs 2 by a Cabinet decision yesterday, the Union Minister for Petroleum has been under pressure from the allies and Opposiiton parties to roll back the price hike partially.
The Left parties, supporting the Government from outside, have decide to launch a countrywide agitation on the issue of petrol price hike.
The principal Opposition party, BJP, has decided to launch a nation wide programme of road blocks, chakka jam, from June 7 onwards from 11 AM to 1 PM against the price hike, saying it would not tolerate it.
The JD-S, another ally of the Government, will launch an agitation at Lucknow.
Expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti's party, Bhartiya Jan Shakti has also opposed the petrol price hike and urged the Prime Minister to withdraw it.