Mamata opposes fuel price hike; wants govt to reconsider

Making her "unhappiness" very clear by not being present at the meeting of Empowered Group of Ministers who took a decision to hike the fuel prices, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Friday, said her party was not supporting the move and sought reconsideration of the same.
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Updated on Jun 25, 2010 07:12 PM IST
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PTI | By, New Delhi

Making her "unhappiness" very clear by not being present at the meeting of Empowered Group of Ministers who took a decision to hike the fuel prices, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Friday, said her party was not supporting the move and sought reconsideration of the same.

She, however, ruled out any strong action such as withdrawal of support to express her party's opposition, saying "Government has our crucial support and it will remain."

"I am unhappy. I did not go the meeting to give my approval to the decision of hiking the price of LPG, kerosene and diesel," Banerjee said and maintained distance from the government's decision to increase the prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene.

As per EGoM's decision, petrol and diesel will cost up to Rs 3.73 per litre more, households will have to pay an additional Rs 35 per cylinder and poor man's cooking medium kerosene will be dearer by Rs 3 a litre from Friday.

"I had met Finance Minister (Pranab Mukherjee) yesterday to convey my view. Our party does not support the hike because kerosene, LPG and diesel are directly linked with the common people's kitchen. It also affects the farmers," a miffed Banerjee said.

In a major decision to bring petroleum products in line with market rates, the government freed petrol from all pricing controls and hiked diesel prices by Rs two a litre, Oil Secretary S Sundareshan announced after the meeting of the EGoM. Seeking a rollback, Banerjee said, "I will request the government to re-consider the decision to hike the diesel, LPG and kerosene prices because it will result in increase in prices of other commodities."

She ruled out any strong action to express her party's opposition to the government's decision. "Our party has 19 members and the government has 271 members. We are not a very big party but we can raise our voice. We can give our views but they (Congress) are the major party. So they have to take a decision. I am not going to quarrel regarding this because it won't look nice...But in democracy, there are some system and in the system we will raise our voice," she said. "Government has our crucial support and it will remain. But at the same time we are not happy about it (price hike)," she said.

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