PM will decide petrol price issue: Pranab
Kolkata, Nov 8: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will decide on the issue of petrol prices after discussing the matter with MPs of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) partner Trinamool Congress, said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Asked whether a rollback of the latest petrol price hike was possible in the decontrol regime, Mukherjee said: "I am not making any comment on it. I have told about it umpteen number of times."
He said the prime minister would be discussing the issue with Trinamool Congress MPs in New Delhi Tuesday "...and whatever decision the prime minister takes will be implemented. Let us wait for that".
"I am not sitting on any value judgement," he added after a closed-door meeting with bankers Tuesday, hours before two crucial meetings in New Delhi and Kolkata with the miffed UPA ally.
While Manmohan Singh meets Trinamool members in New Delhi, Mukherjee will hold talks with Trinamool supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Raj Bhavan here. State Finance Minister Amit Mitra will accompany Banerjee at the meeting where the state's financial demands are to be discussed.
The prime minister's discussions with Trinamool MPs will take place at his residence in New Delhi. Both meetings will begin at the same time - 5 p.m.
The Trinamool MPs will also submit a memorandum to the prime minister listing the financial problems of the state and urging enhanced central assistance, sources said.
Trinamool general secretary and union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy has said that after meeting the prime minister they would give an initial reaction. "But the final decision will be taken by the party supremo Mamata Banerjee and the party. We will announce our final stand after that."
Giving a virtual ultimatum, the Trinamool had Friday threatened to quit the UPA coalition against "repeated unilateral decisions" to raise fuel and coal prices but Banerjee kept the decision pending and sought a meeting with Manmohan Singh.
Official sources said in New Delhi that a full rollback of the hike was out of question.
However, the government may agree to the Trinamool's suggestion of a consultative mechanism before decisions on sensitive issues like petrol price hike are taken.
The Trinamool protests may lead to the postponement of government's plans to hike the prices of LPG and other petroleum products, sources in Delhi said.
The Trinamool, with 18 Lok Sabha members, is the second largest partner of the UPA.
Since taking power in West Bengal in May, Banerjee has repeatedly spoken about inheriting a "bankrupt" state with a huge loan burden. She has sought a financial package from the central government.
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