Fuel price hike: Trinamool upset over not being consulted

Kolkata: Facing flak on several fronts including rising prices especially food inflation, the Government is now under attack for hiking petrol rates. Understandably, the Opposition went hammer and tongs at the government, but even allies, like the Trinamool expressed its hurt at not being consulted.

"It's a simple issue. TMC has neither been consulted nor called for discussion over the price hike of petrol. In fact, our leader Mamata Banerjee met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee last evening at the airport and even there the decision on hiking prices was not communicated to her which has really hurt her. We are of the opinion that any such decision should be taken at the meeting of UPA II. A meeting in three months should happen to discuss the ideas of different parties who are very much involved to run UPA", Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay told reporters.

It's the second time in as many days, that an ally attacked the Congress. First it was the NCP chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who distanced himself from the rising food prices, implying it was the top leadership of the government, not him, which oversaw economic policy.

"It is a collective decision-making process in which inflation control measures are discussed at the highest level, including Prime Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and economic adviser to the PM. We gather state-wise information for guidelines to form a policy", said Pawar.

The public attacks by allies have further embarrassed the government, already battling a credibility crisis - unable to control prices or tackle corruption.

The Opposition comprising the BJP and the CPI(M) also slammed yesterday's petrol price hike and demanded a roll back.

"This cruel price rise of petrol, the second big price rise in a span of a month, is totally unjustified. We demand an immediate rollback of prices of petrol products," said Prakash Javadekar, Spokesperson, BJP.

The CPI(M) described called the Centre's decision to raise petrol prices "callous" and called upon its various units to launch immediate protest against the hike.

"The Politburo calls upon all its party units to immediately protest the callous hike," CPI(M)'s highest policy-making body, on a two-day meeting here, said in a statement.

State-owned oil companies had on Saturday raised petrol prices by Rs. 2.50 - Rs. 2.54 per litre, the second hike in a month, on back of rising crude oil prices. (Read: Petrol prices hiked again)