A day after landing into controversy for his statement over rising petrol and diesel prices, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Sunday apologised for hurting the sentiments of people. Athawale had landed in trouble by saying that an increase in fuel prices did not bother him because he gets allowances. “I am not suffering from rising fuel prices as I am a minister. I may suffer if I lose my ministerial post,” Athawale said on Saturday at an event in Jaipur while referring to the allowances he gets.
The minister was asked if he was personally affected by the rising prices of petrol and diesel. Athawale, however, acknowledged that others are affected more.
However, when his remark invited sharp criticism from various quarters, Athawale apologised for it. He said that journalists had asked him if he was having any problem with rising petrol and diesel prices. “I had said that I have no problem, I am a Minister, we are provided government vehicles. But people do face problems and prices should be brought down. I didn’t say this to insult anyone,” he said.
“If it has hurt people sentiments, I express my apology. I had no intention to do this,” Athawale added.
The minister said that he understands that people are suffering from rising fuel prices and demanded from the government to bring the prices under check.
“I am a common man who later became a Minister. I know the problems people face. I am a part of the government and I demand that the price of petrol, diesel should be brought down,” Athawale who is MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment said.
Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices in the country hit a new benchmark today. In Delhi, the price of petrol was increased by Rs 0.28 per litre to Rs 81.91 and in Mumbai, one has to shell out Rs 89.29 for the same quantity of the motor spirit. Price of diesel also surged today by Rs 0.18 per litre in Delhi to Rs 73.72. In Mumbai, it increased by Rs 0.19 per litre to Rs 78.26.
The recent hike in petrol and diesel prices have been largely attributed to high crude oil prices and a falling rupee value.