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BJP, CPI-M oppose any hike in petrol, diesel prices

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Ahead of the empowered group of ministers’ (eGOM) meeting Monday to consider pricing policy on petrol and diesel, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) opposed any move by the government to hike prices of petroleum products.

The BJP said any hike in prices of petrol and diesel will further increase prices of essential commodities.

The CPI-M politburo in a statement Sunday described the likely hike in the petroleum products as ‘unwarranted’.

‘It will have a direct impact on purchasing power of common citizens,’ BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay told IANS.

He said the exercise to consider hike in prices of petrol and diesel should be ‘deemed as a failure of the United Progressive Alliance government on economic front, ironically run by an economist prime minister’.

Asked about the decisions taken for decontrol of diesel and petrol prices by the previous BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government, he said ‘those decisions were taken in different circumstances when prices were under control’.

The eGOM, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss pricing policy of petrol and diesel, including pricing decontrol.

Petroleum Minister Murli Deora met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday to discuss fuel price issue and decontrol of petroleum products.

The CPI-M too, like the BJP, came out against any hike in petrol and diesel prices.

In a statement issues at the end of two-day politburo meeting here Sunday, the party said any hike in prices of petroleum products will be unwarranted.

‘There are reports that the government is considering a further increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and other petroleum products. This will be totally unwarranted and impose a crushing burden on the people in view of the continuing increase in food prices and inflation,’ the statement said.

The Congress, however, said that the government had always taken a carefully considered decision on prices of petroleum products.

‘The prices have been increased only when there is no other option. The hike has been minimum and what is necessary,’ Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

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