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Sonia back, reshuffle on the cards

With Congress president Sonia Gandhi back home after a health check-up abroad, the party's core group met on Tuesday to discuss the proposed fuel price hike and the possible reshuffle in the government and the organisation.

delhi Updated: Sep 12, 2012 01:00 IST
HT Correspondent

With Congress president Sonia Gandhi back home after a health check-up abroad, the party's core group met on Tuesday to discuss the proposed fuel price hike and the possible reshuffle in the government and the organisation.

Sources said the meeting, chaired by Gandhi and also attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to postpone the move to increase diesel and cooking fuel prices for the time being.

The party was not in favour of the hike at a time when the government is battling corruption charges and facing an opposition onslaught over CAG's report on coal blocks' allocation.

Union petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy, who along with home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde were invited to the meeting, explained the rationale behind the move but the committee decided to keep it in abeyance.

Minutes before the core group meeting, he had stated that the hike was unavoidable.

"As I said before, however painful and difficult the increase in price of oil product may be, increase is unavoidable…what extent can consumer take… is another matter," he said soon after meeting finance minister P Chidambaram.

A meeting of the cabinet committee on political affairs is likely to meet on September 18 to decide on the issue.

The core group also discussed the possible revamp in the government and the party in which Rahul Gandhi is expected to be given a bigger role.

The buzz is that the much-awaited reshuffle could take place before the Shraddh - considered inauspicious by Hindus - which commences from September-end.