One of the first things petroleum minister Murli Deora did on Wednesday was to call up important Left leaders to convey the governments decision to reduce petrol and diesel prices. Deora began with a telephone call to CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
Deora also called up CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI leader AB Bardhan, but the two leaders were in Havana for the anniversary celebrations of the formation of the Cuban revolution army. He then called up Brinda Karat and spoke to her on the issue.
While expressing satisfaction at the lowering of oil prices, Left leaders on Wednesday, however, said they wanted a full rollback. When asked who should be given credit for the price reduction, Sitaram Yechury was not at all in doubt: Sonia Gandhi demanded oil price reduction only two days ago. We have been demanding this. Obviously, the Lefts pressure is behind the price reduction, he told reporters.
Citing further a decrease of crude oil prices in the international market, Yechury said: Now the reduction is only 50%. We demand the government bring the oil price as on June 2006. The falling of oil prices is continuing.
The government had initially ruled out scope of a price hike at the last UPA-Left coordination committee, coming out with laboured reasoning for not doing so.
However, following Gandhis comments made at the CPP general body meeting on Tuesday where she the hope of a reduction in prices, the government promptly announced the partial rollback.
Deora in his statement placed before the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday assured that the ministry was maintaining a close watch on the international oil prices and accordingly will consider revision in the retail prices.