New Delhi, Sept. 11: The government wants to build a consensus among UPA allies on a fuel price hike before the cabinet committee on political affairs (CCPA) takes up the proposal, sources said.
The CCPA meeting on hiking diesel, domestic LPG cylinder and kerosene prices, scheduled to be held today, was called off even as oil minister S. Jaipal Reddy made it clear that a hike was inevitable.
Soon after the cancellation of meeting, a Congress core group, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were present, discussed the issue. Reddy, who was a special invitee to the core group meeting, left after making a strong pitch for a hike citing unprecedented losses because of a rise in crude oil prices and the fall in the rupee. However, there was opposition at the core group meeting to any immediate move to hike prices.
The CCPA is now likely to meet on September 18.
“If it (price hike) is not taken up today, decisions may have to be postponed by a few days. However, I would like to tell the people (that) the increase in price is unavoidable. We will have to perform our unpleasant duty,” Reddy said earlier in the day after meeting finance minister P. Chidambaram.
The CCPA, headed by the Prime Minister, includes chemical and fertiliser minister M.K. Alagiri of the DMK and railway minister Mukul Roy of the Trinamul Congress. The UPA allies are opposed to an increase in prices.
“I can’t take a decision (on raising prices) only on the basis of economic facts. We are operating in a political economy. We will have to take a balanced view,” Reddy said.