Congress defends diesel price hike

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday defended the government's decision to hike the price of diesel by Rs5 a litre, while the opposition parties including the BJP and Left slammed the move as "unjustified" and "anti-people".

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh told a television channel that the party was "solidly" behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government.

He said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had taken several decisions that were beneficial to the common man, during its over seven years in power.

"And sometimes, a good government may have to take unpleasant decisions too," he said.

Agencies

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) jumped on this opportunity to attack the government, saying the decision to hike the diesel price would have "cascading effect" of cost of essential commodities, resulting in further inflation and price hike.

"The burden will only shift to the common man," said BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters here.

The BJP's Ananth Kumar said strongly opposed the decision and condemned it.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat, in her reaction to the government decision, said it would only "further burden the people's pocket".

"This is the message that the UPA government wants to send across to the common man," Karat said, slamming the government's claim that the oil companies had poor recoveries.

"I don't agree with the oil companies' under-recoveries theory. Their balance sheets do not reflect that," she said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) MP D Raja said his party "strongly condemned" the decision and called it a "huge blow" to the poor.

"This decision will have a long-standing effect on prices of commodities," he said.

Attacking the UPA government, Raja said it had "failed to control the prices and inflation" and the decision was "unjustified."

"I only hope the people come out on to the streets against the government and its decision," he added.

IANS