NCP backs Pranab Mukherjee on budget proposals

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Old 28-Feb-2010
NCP backs Pranab Mukherjee on budget proposals

NCP backs Pranab Mukherjee on budget proposals

New Delhi: Amid demands for rollback of fuel prices by UPA partners Trinamool Congress and DMK, NCP today came in support of measures taken by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and said the party will not take any decision that will affect the stability of the Congress-led coalition.

We are part of the decision-making process....NCP will not take any decision that will affect the stability of the government. We will explain to our colleagues who have different views and try to convince them about the larger national interest," NCP chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told PTI.

Noting that there are a "number of good decisions" in the 2010-11 budget like raising of the income tax slabs, the agriculture minister said the government wants to protect the interests of the weaker sections and the middle class.

"There are many decisions helpful for the farming community. Substantial provision has been made for rural development and primary education as also to address the problem of urbanisation," he said backing steps initiated by the finance minister.

Pawar emphasised that the government has to raise resources to fulfil the promises made to the people.

"Today, we are trying to improve the economy and growth rate is definitely improving. In such a situation, stability and continuity are the most important things for the nation," Pawar said.

Pawar's statement has come as a balm for the finance minister who is under intense pressure from the opposition as also allies for a rollback but stood his ground so far.

NCP is a key ally of the UPA and has nine members in the Lok Sabha. The two parties also share power in Maharashtra.

Congress allies Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and DMK leader M Karunanidhi have demanded the "inflationary" measures be rolled back.

The Trinamool had taken out rallies in Kolkata yesterday to protest the fuel price hike while Banerjee wrote to prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi "to reconsider the hike in view of hardships faced by the common man".

Karunanidhi has also written to Singh and the Congress leadership and said the government should "at least roll back" the increase in diesel prices.

While both allies dashed off letters, they did not indicate how far they were prepared to push their opposition.

A view in the Congress is that with both Trinamool and DMK facing Assembly elections in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively, their protests were but natural.

Mukherjee has been on the defensive, saying the inflationary impact of the duty hike would be minimal, just adding 0.4% to the overall inflation.

The opposition has made it clear that it would not allow Parliament to run till a rollback is effected.

BJP, Left parties as also outside supporters of the government like SP, RJD and BSP are united on the issue.

Congress has been saying that the government would be taking a decision on the contentious issue after talking to the allies.

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