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Pranab silent on Didi threat over petro hike

Kolkata: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee declined to make any comment on Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee`s threat of her party`s walking out of the UPA over the latest petrol price hike. "I have no comments," Mukherjee told reporters waiting outside his Kolkata residence, on arrival from Delhi.

Earlier, Mukherjee said in the national capital that "petrol prices are increased by the petroleum companies, not by the government. Diesel, kerosene and gas are controlled items." Trinamool, the largest ally of UPA, threatened to pull out over the petrol price hike, as it sought an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before taking "any vital decision".

"Our withdrawal of support may result in fall of the government. But since the Prime Minister is away, we want to discuss with him and have sought an appointment with him," party chairperson Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat here.

Oil companies on Thursday night raised petrol prices by Rs 1.80 per litre, citing the impact of rupee depreciation on the cost of crude oil imports. Following the increase, petrol in Delhi will cost Rs 68.64 a litre. Petrol prices were freed from government control in June last year.

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