New Delhi, May 26: With the Centre ruling out any immediate rollback in the steep Rs 7.54 a litre hike in petrol prices, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has condemned the policies framed by the Congress-led UPA Government, and called for a shutdown in Uttar Pradesh on May 31 to protest against the petrol price hike.
Samajwadi Party leader Shahid Siddiqui said the government is not concerned about the feelings and problems of the common man of this country.
“The government has lost the connect with the masses. They are not concerned with the feelings of the masses. The Samajwadi Party condemns the policies framed by the UPA. We will shutdown the state of Uttar Pradesh on May 31 in protest of the petrol price hike. We want to tell the government in clear terms that the SP will not support anti-people policies,” he said.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister S. Jaipal Reddy had earlier on Friday ruled out any immediate possibility of a rollback in petrol prices, saying the government needed to watch and analyze the prevailing turbulence in the global economic situation.
Reddy, however, said the government had decided to monitor the developments in global crude prices over the next few days before contemplating any action on the domestic front.
“We are at this point not able to take a definitive view, because there is a lot of volatility in regard to the value of rupee. There is volatility in regard to the price of crude oil. So, we have decided to watch (the developments) for just a few days,” said Reddy.
“So far, it (price of a barrel of oil) is only a 111 (US dollars), whereas you know, rupee has depreciated steeply. We do not know where it is going to stop. Therefore, I would like to watch. The oil marketing companies are frightened at this double phenomenon. Nobody knows which way the trend is going to stabilize,” he added, while attempting to justify the petrol price hike.
Reddy also expressed helplessness while reflecting on the need to increase diesel prices.
“The logic in favour of increasing the prices of diesel, LPG, and kerosene is unassailable. But politics and logic do not go together. What do I do? Am I to do without politics?” he said.
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress Party appeared to be on the defensive over the petrol price hike, saying it empathized with the masses.
“All oil companies are absolutely independent to take their decisions, and this decision has been taken by petroleum companies on its own. It is very difficult and we understand the feeling of the nation,” said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.
“We have already suggested to the Government of India, we should try to find out a way,” he added.
In the steepest ever increase, the UPA-II Government on Wednesday raised petrol prices by about a massive Rs 7.54 per litre, the first hike in rates in six months.
The hike in prices means that the price of petrol in Delhi will go up from Rs.65.64 per litre to Rs.73.14 per litre. In Mumbai, the price will go from Rs.70.66 per litre to Rs.78.16 per litre. In Kolkata, the price will go from Rs.70.03 per litre to Rs.77.53 per litre In Chennai, the price will go from Rs.69.55 per litre to Rs.77.05 per litre.
State-owned oil companies have decided to raise petrol price by Rs 6.28 per litre excluding local sales tax or VAT. The hike translates into Rs 7.50 per litre in Delhi and is the steepest ever.
The decision to hike petrol prices came a day after the end of the Budget Session of Parliament. (ANI)