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Cong hints at partial rollback of petrol price hike

Source: PTI
May 24, 2012 23:10 IST
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Amid growing street protest and unease in the party over the steep hike in petrol prices, Congress on Thursday hinted at a partial rollback as Oil Minister S Jaipal Reddy cut short his Turkeministan visit and met Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel.

AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari said the party was hopeful that some kind of a modus vivendi involving the central government, state government and oil companies will be arrived at.

"We are hopeful that the government would find a way out so that some of this burden is eased," he told reporters.

His statement came amid the unease in the party over the hike, which has been slammed by even UPA constituents, as a number of Congress leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision would harm the party.

Reflecting the unhappiness in Congress over the move, party MP Praveen Araon said, "It looks like the Congress president was not aware of the decision and it was taken abruptly."

Explaining this he said he had met Gandhi only few days back to impress upon her that petrol price should not be hiked and she had suggested that there was no such move.

The unease was visible in party as the NDA and the Left announced agitation plans including a Bharat Bandh on May 31, while Railway Minister Mukul Roy from Trinamool Congress led a party march in Kolkata against the hike with party chief Mamata Banerjee saying that the protests would continue.

Tewari, however, said, "This is not the decision of the government. This is not a political decision. This falls in the jurisdiction of oil companies."

Reddy, who was in Turkeministan for signing of agreement for TAPI gas pipeline when the third hike in a year and the first in almost seven month was announced, arrived after cutting short his visit by a day.

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