Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fuel price hike: Allies angry, but PM remains firm

 By a.k.sharma : New Delhi : The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh remained firm on on fuel price hike and favoured more deregulation of prices, even as Trinamool Congress MP's threatened to resign.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday virtually threatened to pull out from the UPA government.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Cannes, the PM made it clear that that the government should move more and more in the direction of deregulation of fuel prices.
The PM also said that he has no hesitation in saying that markets must find their own levels. The PM though conceded that food inflation is a problem but said it's also a sign of growing prosperity.
"Food inflation is a problem. Prices of food grains are stable. But vegetables, egg prices are going up. That reflects more demand for these commodities than supply and shows a sign of grown prosperity, Singh said.
Fiscal deficit of 4.6 per cent has to be reduced, he added.
Mamata Banerjee on Friday criticised UPA for not consulting her before announcing the fuel price hike.
She said that the Trinamool was never consulted before Thursday's price hike. "If fuel price hike is linked to global crude prices then why doesn't the price come down when crude prices are low," she questioned.
Adding that the UPA never pays heed to the Trinamool's views, Mamata said, "The Congress party is dependent on allies support whereas the Trinamool has absolute majority in Bengal." She, however, said that though she is angry, she is not blackmailing the UPA over petrol price rise.
She said that she will will meet the Prime Minister after he returns from Cannes, most likely on November 8 or November 9.
"We are accountable to people, can't tolerate this fuel price hike. We are not trying to blackmail the government. We have been insulted many times, we don't even have a room for us in Parliament," Banerjee said.
"Our MPs had resolved that if this repeated hike continues we will withdraw support. Somebody must bell the cat," Mamata said.
Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien said that the ministers have given in their resignation letters over petrol price hike and that is lying with Mamata Banerjee.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "These are certain situations which have to bourne and the bullet has to be bitten. In an ideal world lot of things shouldn't be subsidised but then why should you be subsidising petrol."
Earlier, Trinamool Congress on Friday said that there were no decisions taken for pulling out from the government in the party meeting.
Also no ministers will be pulled out of Cabinet. The meeting was chaired by Mukul Roy, who is also Minister of State, Shipping. For now, the TMC has decided not to upset the UPA apple-cart with any ministerial pull-outs.
"We have decided to present our resolution to Mamata Banerjee. We all have expressed our views. We are concerned about price rise. We have been kept in the dark before any decision on fuel price hike," TMC General Secretary Sudip Bandhopadhya said.
Oil companies raised petrol prices by Rs 1.82 per litre with effect from Thursday midnight. Reed in hindi