A day after the steepest ever petrol price hike of R7.54 sparked protests by UPA allies and Opposition parties in several parts of the country on Thursday, there were strong indications that the government would cushion the blow for the common man.
Petrol prices may come down by R3-4 a litre in the next few days as state governments readied plans to slash local taxes and oil companies hinted that if the current softening of crude prices continues, it would prompt them to reduce retail prices of the precious fuel.
Already, Congress-ruled states Kerala and Uttarakhand on Thursday reduced local taxes on petrol that will bring retail prices down by R1.63 per litre and R1.87 per litre, respectively. Other states, including Delhi, are likely to follow suit.
Oil companies indicated that they may soon cut prices by R1.50.
Petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy cut short visit to Turkmenistan by a day to arrive in the Capital on Thursday amid the intensifying political backlash.
With the Congress stepping up pressure on the government for a rollback, Reddy assured the party leadership that he would talk to the oil companies.