NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (Agencies): The Congress appeared veering
towards an imminent fuel price hike as party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said if the hike was "unavoidable" due to international or domestic compulsions, "it has to be minimum".
Though the issue was discussed by the party's Core Committee meeting last evening, the decision to raise fuel price rests with the Cabinet.
It however, remains moot point whether the issue would be
clinched tomorrow when the Cabinet meets.
The meeting attended, among others, by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, also dwelt on the terms and references of the committee on the Telangana issue set up last week.
The panel discussed the issue of fuel price hike in the wake of the Parekh Committee recommending overhauling of the fuel pricing system so as to reduce the losses of public sector oil companies and for a moderate increase in diesel, cooking gas and kerosene rates.
To a pointed question, Dr Singhvi said, "There is no point in speculating before a decision (price hike) is taken. A decision has to be announced by the Government in a prescribed method. Aam admi focus is important. If a hike is unavoidable, it has to be minimum."
Though there was a view that there should not be any announcement of a fuel price rise as the Budget Session begins on February 22, party sources indicated that it appeared imminent that the announcement could come any time.
"It cannot be avoided on account of international factors. No government can buck the trend. But it would be done in such a way that the impact on aam admi would be cushioned."
Stating that the Kirit Parekh report has only recommendatory value, Dr Singhvi said it is one of the inputs that will be considered by the Government before a decision on fuel price hike is taken.
The core group also includes Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister AK Antony, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Political Secretary to the Congress president Ahmed Patel.