Trinamool, DMK wait for meeting with Congress on fuel price hike

New Delhi, March 2 (Calcutta Tube) Two major constituents of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the Trinamool Congress and the DMK, were Tuesday waiting for the outcome of their meeting with the Congress leadership to decide what stand they would take on the fuel price hike.

‘The Congress leadership and the finance minister have already announced that the issue of fuel price hike would be discussed with us and we would be convinced. Let us see what they are going to discuss,’ DMK leader T.R. Baalu told IANS.

‘We will meet and discuss. We are going to Delhi today (Tuesday),’ said Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay from Kolkata.

He said the time of the meeting was yet to be fixed.

The two Congress allies have opposed the hike in fuel taxes announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee when he presented India’s 2010-11 budget last Friday. The taxes have raised prices of petrol and diesel.

The Trinamool Congress Saturday said it will oppose in parliament Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s proposal on fuel price hike. Parliament will meet again Wednesday after a four-day break.

DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, seeking a rollback of the taxes.

Reacting to the allies’ demand, Mukherjee said the issue would be discussed with them and they would be ‘convinced’.

Meanwhile the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist parties convened separate meetings Tuesday morning to decide their strategy in the two houses of parliament.

Their leaders said they will give priority to the hike in petrol and diesel prices.

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.

‘Any increase in prices does hurt some section of people, but we have to take a long term view. We cannot save people from inflation if we follow all along populist fiscal policies,’ Manmohan Singh told reporters Monday on board the special aircraft on which he was returning from Saudi Arabia to New Delhi.

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