New Delhi/Kolkata: In a climbdown, UPA's key constituent Trinamool Congress on Tuesday accepted the recent controversial petrol price hike but threatened to pull out of government if there was another such increase. (Agencies)
The party, which has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha, got no assurance on rollback of the hike of Rs 1.80 when its delegation of MPs met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi to register their unhappiness.
After the 45-minute meeting, the MPs made it clear that the party would continue to be part of the government as of now despite being strongly opposed to the latest price hike.
"We expressed our sentiments to the Prime Minister and gave him a copy of the resolution adopted at the Parliamentary Party meeting held in Kolkata," said Union Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay after the 45-minute meeting with Singh.
Citing media reports which suggested that there could be hike in prices of LPG, diesel and kerosene this month, the delegation told the Prime Minister that Trinamool was opposed to any such move but Singh said he was not aware of any such thing.
"We categorically said if such a decision is taken again, we have to think again whether what will be our stand and we will not take this very easily... We have succeeded in convincing the people that Trinamool Congress will not digest easily whenever decision of price rise is taken," Bandhopadhyay told reporters.
Asked whether Singh gave any assurance on rollback of the latest petrol price hike, he replied in the negative.
Party chief Mamata Banerjee, who held a meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Kolkata, said her party will not remain in the UPA government if prices of petro products hiked again.
"We don't want to blackmail the UPA government. We don't want to come out if it takes a correct decision," Banerjee said.
Instead of giving any assurance on rollback, the Prime Minister explained to the delegation the "necessity of increasing petroleum products prices".
After the price rise was announced, Trinamool Parliamentary Party held an emergency meeting on Friday last following which Bandhopadhyay said his party "registers its strong protest with the UPA government for keeping allies in the dark while taking such a decision which has angered the people."
During the meeting with Singh on Tuesday, the MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha along with West Bengal Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee, also complained about "huge lack" of coordination between Congress and coalition partners.
"We also told him that there is a huge lack of coordination between coalition partners in the UPA-II. There are opportunities to interact with the Prime Minister during Cabinet meetings but there is lack of coordination among allies of the UPA-II," the Minister of State for Health said.
The Prime Minister "agreed" that it will be improved, Bandhopadhyay said.
He said the deliberations with the Prime Minister would be conveyed to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
Singh shared the economic condition of the country with the delegation, the Trinamool MP said.
"The PM has agreed with our sentiments. PM has categorically said that he shares our views. He explained some of his views which are related with economic side, economic conditions of the country, economic position of the world, necessity of increasing petroleum products prices," he said.
The Prime Minister is understood to have explained to the Trinamool delegation the reasons behind the latest round of petrol price hike.
Singh cited two main reasons for the hike: international crude prices and health of PSU oil companies and explained the government's position on taxes and duties on petroleum products, sources said.
New Delhi/Kolkata: In a climbdown, UPA's key constituent Trinamool Congress on Tuesday accepted the recent controversial petrol price hike but threatened to pull out of government if there was another such increase.