Allies slam govt on fuel price

Allies slam govt on fuel price

The government, however, declined to withdraw the hikes. Petroleum Minister Murli Deora told the Lok Sabha (LS) that the government could consider a rollback only after a fall in the global crude prices.

The government’s decision to raise the prices of the petrol by Rs 4 per litre and diesel by Rs 2 per litre just on the eve of the commencement of the second session of the 15th LS triggered uproar in both the Lower and Upper Houses.

The LS MPs of the UPA-constituents like DMK and Trinamool Congress as well as of the Samajwadi Party, Shiv Sena, TDP and Rashtriya Janata Dal joined the opposition to decry the hikes.

The commotion forced the LS Speaker Meira Kumar to adjourn the House thrice, while the Rajya Sabha witnessed a walk-out by the entire opposition.

The trouble in the LS started after the question hour began. The Speaker adjourned the House twice as several MPs of the BJP, SP, RJD and leftist parties demanded discussion on the hikes in the petro-prices.

She had to finally allow discussion on the issue.

CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta said that the Government had committed a “grave parliamentary impropriety” by raising the petro-prices just a few hours before the LS and RS sessions. Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad said that the hike in the petro-prices would result in steep rise in irrigation costs. Sushma Swaraj of the BJP said that the Congress had contested the LS polls on the aam-aadmi plank and the hike in petro-prices was its ‘first gift’ to the people. Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said: “We know that international crude prices have gone up. But price rise will affect the common people.”

The DMK’s T R Baalu too strongly condemned the hikes. “This government is not a unitary government. It is supported by the DMK and AITC. It should have been discussed with leaders of other UPA.”

No rollback

Deora recalled that the Government had brought down fuel prices reacting to fall in international prices in December last year. “But now the global crude prices have once again risen to $70 a barrel,” he said. “We will respond suitably in case of a fall in the crude prices,” he said, leaving it to the State governments to reduce sales tax.

The LS was adjourned for the day as the protesting MPs, unsatisfied with Deora’s response, rushed to the well of the House.

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