In a dissenting voice from the government over the steepest ever petrol price hike, Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday said it was “not a correct step” and the oil companies should have shown some “propriety” before taking the decision.

“The hike in petrol price was not a correct step. The oil companies should have shown some propriety,” he told reporters as the UPA Government faced street protests and came under intense pressure from even its allies to rollback the Rs. 7.50 per litre hike.

The senior Congress leader’s virtual disapproval of the hike came after Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy’s strong defence of the oil companies move.

Mr. Antony also said increase in prices of diesel and LPG was not under the Centre’s consideration.

He was in Neyyattinkara, the southernmost assembly segment in Kerala, to campaign for the Congress candidate for the June 2 assembly bypoll.

At public meetings during his one-day tour, Mr. Antony highlighted the achievements of the UPA Government and the UDF Ministry headed by Oommen Chandy in the state.

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