Kolkata: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday sought to downplay the threat by key UPA constituent Trinamool Congress to withdraw support to the Government over the petrol price hike, saying it was "perfectly legitimate" for any ally to voice concerns on such issues.

Mukherjee at the same time expressed confidence that the fuel hike issue which has sparked the threat from Mamata Banerjee's party would be sorted out soon with allies after talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
    
"The issue will be sorted out soon with allies. We would talk to the PM and the issue will be resolved," Mukherjee told reporters.
    
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said a solution to the issue would be found out after a meeting with the allies.    

Pressure has mounted on the government to roll back the hike as Mamata attacked the decision to raise the petrol price by Rs 1.80 as unilateral without consultations with allies like her party, DMK and National Conference.

"It is perfectly legitimate for any political party which is a constituent of UPA to express concern on any issue and to discuss it with the Prime Minister. They have done exactly that," Mukherjee said. Trinamool is UPA's second largest ally.
     
On TMC chief stating on Friday that the matter would be taken up with the Prime Minister after his return from abroad, Mukherjee said, "They will take up some of their concerns with the PM. I don't find anything wrong with it." Singh returned to the Capital on Saturday morning.
     
Without making any reference to Trinamool's allegation that the party was not consulted before the price hike, Mukherjee said, "There is an EGoM. It consists of the representatives of all political parties which have a member in the Union Cabinet. Our partners in the coalition are members."
     
Stating that the UPA government has taken note of the protests by various political parties, Mukherjee said, "Naturally, when price is hiked and if it hits the people, the people will react. They don't like to listen to economic reasons."

"Sometimes they come to the meeting (of EGoM), sometimes they don't. That is a different question. But they are members. All four partners of the UPA have representatives in the EGoM.

"Only the price of petrol which was deregulated has increased. It (deregulation) did not take place today, the decision was taken on June 28, last year," Mukherjee said at the National University of Juridical Sciences.
     
Congress left it to the government to decide on the issue of petrol price hike saying it did not want to enter their jurisdiction and ruling out that it demanded any rollback.
     
"There is a need to understand the issue in right perspective. We never said what the government should do and what policies it should make. We have only said that keeping in mind the sensitivity of the issue and the concerns government should do whatever it can to provide relief to the common man," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in New Delhi.
     
Singhvi also denied that the party made any specific demand like rollback of prices.
     
Mukherjee while speaking on the situation facing the oil companies said they think that their financial situation is such that they will not be able to import crude if their financial health is totally broken.

He said the combined loss of BPCL and HPCL in the first six months of the current fiscal was Rs 12,000 crore and IOC was also likely to be in the red.
     
"If the oil companies are in the red, will they be able to raise resources from market? Will they be in a position to import crude that is required?", he asked.

(Agencies)