Millennium Post

UPA manages petrol price war

The Congress seems to have won the little battle that started after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government decided to hike petrol prices on Wednesday. The crucial UPA allies made public statements against the hike. But, on Thursday, the allies indicated clearly to the Congress that they would not pull out of the government.

After one of the steepest petrol price hike, the key UPA allies – the Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the DMK – decided to the skip the  important cabinet meet held on Thursday at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 7, Race Course Road, residence.

What may have cooled the temper of allies is the indication from the Congress that it may agree for a partial rollback of the hike. The Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari asserted that that Congress was sensitive towards the common people and would like that 'some way could be found through coordination among the Centre, state governments and oil companies, so that the burden on people would be lessened'. He added, 'This is not the decision of the government and is not a political decision. It falls in the jurisdiction of oil companies.'

Earlier, the key allies like the Trinamool Congress and the DMK had said that the decision on price hike was taken without consulting them.

The Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had decided to skip the power-packed dinner at the prime minister's residence and also chose not to participate in this cabinet meet. She has her ideas clear: she  will support the government but, at the same time, assert her demand for the three-year moratorium on the interest of Central loans to her state.

Banerjee said, 'We have made a commitment to support this government, and that is the reason we are not moving out. But, our support does not mean that we cannot protest. We believe that the government is being unjust, it's one sided and not correct.'


The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has declared a Bharat Bandh on 31 May against the steep
hike in petrol prices and spiralling prices of essential commodities. Senior BJP leader L K Advani announced the decision in his capacity as acting chairman of the NDA, party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said. The NDA convenor Sharad Yadav said that the alliance would talk to other parties to elicit support. The Left has also called for a bandh on the same day.
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