Fuel price hike is market fluctuation: Pawar

Jalgaon: Against the backdrop of the Trinamool Congress` threat to pull out of UPA over the petrol price rise, NCP chief Sharad Pawar today backed the government on the issue.

"There is no point in blaming the govt for increase in the domestic prices of fuel as they are related to fluctuations in the international markets," Pawar said defending Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on deregulation of the fuel prices. On Trinamool Congress` threat to withdraw from the UPA government, Pawar said, "Our stand is to remain with the government."

Asked to comment on the Prime Minister`s remarks on deregulation, Pawar said Singh was an economist of international repute and Pawar was not a "super economist" to comment on what the Prime Minister had said. The Union minister was speaking at a press conference here after inaugurating a bio-gas project.

The Prime Minister has justified the hike in petrol prices, saying there should be further movement towards deregulation of fuel prices. "Well that is the general direction in which we should move. I think the move to decontrol the prices is a part of that process," Singh had said.

The Prime Minister`s comments had assumed significance in the context of stiff opposition to the hike in petrol prices under the deregulated system. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had claimed on Friday that her party and allies like the NCP and the DMK were not consulted on the petrol price hike. Meanwhile, Pawar refused to comment on the Lavasa issue saying the matter was sub-judice.