The thread is dedicated to news and events across India and related to our country in March, 2010 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...allies-on-fuel-prices/articleshow/5634993.cms Pressure to heed allies on fuel prices TNN, Mar 3, 2010, 12.31am IST NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may be reluctant to consider the demand from DMK and Trinamool for a rollback of the increase in fuel prices but Congress doesn't seem keen to offend the allies by rejecting their demand rightaway. A day after the PM appeared to have turned down the demand, Congress sought to soothe allies by calling them "trusted and dependable". Party spokesperson Shakil Ahmed also said "hopefully things will be sorted out within the government", in remarks aimed at repairing the impression that Congress has brushed aside the demand. Congress, bolstered by its numbers in Lok Sabha, is not ready to be pushed over and has calculated that neither Trinamool nor DMK is in a position to upset the UPA applecart. Party managers, however, feel that they will be required to calibrate their response to the pressure from allies. The compulsions working on the government are clear as it hopes to raise an estimated Rs 40,000 crore through oil-related duties and this will be important in meeting the Rs 26,000 crore "positive" figure projected on the government's balance sheet. But with allies raising the issue in terms of the hikes adding to inflation, there is a view that a partial rollback cannot be ruled out though no decision has been arrived at. Given that rate hikes never go down well with voters, Congress will not like to be seen as solely responsible for the unpopular measure or being insensitive to the protests. The matter was discussed in detail by the party's core committee and the idea of how it was going to respond can be had from finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's comment that he would discuss the issues with Congress's allies. If the PM's statement marked a rejection of the opposition demand, Congress is aware of the importance of closely considering the demands of Mamata Banerjee and M Karunanidhi. Both West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are going to elections in about a year's time. Though there is no possibility of a complete rollback, under pressure from the two regional allies, the government may marginally lower the diesel price.