Congress core group meets, lets fuel price hike stay

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) The Congress core committee met Tuesday to discuss the fuel price hike effected in the union budget by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, but there was yet no indication of any rollback.

After the hike in fuel price, there has been an outcry of protest not just from opposition parties, but also voices of resentment from allies. In an unprecedented gesture, the opposition even staged a walkout when the finance minister was reading out his budget speech last Friday.

After the core group meeting ended, none of the senior congress leaders was willing to speak to the media, pointing out that parliament will resume Wednesday.

But, sources indicated that the party understood that a withdrawal of the tax restoration on diesel and petrol will not be wise.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has virtually ruled out any rollback in the price hike of petrol and diesel as announced in the budget, saying that the direct effect of the hike in fuel prices on wholesale prices will be no more than 0.4 percent.

On Monday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said he will speak to the allies to placate and convince them that a fuel hike will not be inflationary.

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