Sonia Hints Support for Fuel Price Rise

Signaling rise in taxes on fuels, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has backed Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, reported Reuters quoting lawmakers.

Having a history of supporting populist measures, Gandhi’s stand is being seen as a test of how far the government will push reforms to liberalise state-regulated sectors like fuel, report said.

The signal came as Gandhi spoke to party MPs at a meeting, seeking to remove resentment among a section of the Congress party, which was worried that a rise in fuel prices would worsen already high inflation and anger millions of voters, said report.

“She congratulated the finance minister (Pranab Mukherjee) on his well-balanced budget and said growth is the engine of the budget,” Sandeep Dixit, a Congress MP who attended the party’s closed door meeting, was quoted as saying.

Other MPs who attended the meeting said that it was clear from her statement that she was backing fuel price rise, said report.

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