Responding to concerns raised by Congress members over the political fallout of the price rise, economic slowdown and petrol price hike, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the economic fundamentals of the country were strong and India will recover from the financial slowdown.
Singh and Mukherjee also pointed out that fiscal consolidation and the income-expenditure balance would be the key agenda in the coming days. In her opening remarks to the CWC, party president Sonia Gandhi also referred to the “difficult phase” the world economy was passing through, but said “we have to face it and we are facing it”.
Sources said at least two state unit chiefs — Manikrao Thackeray (Maharashtra) and Pradip Bhattacharyya (WB) — urged the party to refrain from succumbing to the pressure from allies on key economic reforms.
A few members, however, asked the government not to decontrol the price of diesel on the lines of petrol. Kerala PCC chief Ramesh Chennithala, for his part, asked for rollback of petrol price de-regulation.
In his response, Singh said, “We must stay the course. We must not lose sight of the fact that we have performed very well over a sustained period.” He also pointed out that despite the slowdown, India has registered one of the highest GDP growth rates among global economies.