National

“Mamata a compulsive populist”

B.LINE:Members of CPI staging a protest dharna against hike in petrol price, at Jantar Mantar, in the Capital on 5.11.2011. PiC: Kamal Narang

B.LINE:Members of CPI staging a protest dharna against hike in petrol price, at Jantar Mantar, in the Capital on 5.11.2011. PiC: Kamal Narang  

Stating that West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee was part of the decision to decontrol petrol prices last year, a senior Cabinet Minister on Saturday described her as a “compulsive populist” and ruled out a roll back in the petrol prices.

Virtually dismissing criticism by the Trinamool Congress and other allies, highly placed sources in the government said Ms. Banerjee was playing to the gallery. She was part of the decision taken last year to deregulate the petrol prices.

“Ms. Banerjee had not attended that Empowered Group of Ministers meeting of June 25, 2010, but her consent was taken,” the Minister said. “She continued in the Union Cabinet after the decision was taken to decontrol petrol prices and did not threaten even once to withdraw support. The decision to hike petrol price was in line with the empowerment that government has given to oil marketing companies last year.''

“She is a compulsive populist and plays the part of the Opposition,'' the Minister added.

The government appeared unfazed by sharp reactions from allies such as the Trinamool, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the DMK against the decision to hike petrol prices at a time when the common man was reeling under the impact of high inflation and rising prices, arguing that not much political heat had been generated from this latest price hike.

The oil companies were forced to hike the petrol price because of two major reasons — rising crude oil prices in the international market and the rupee's depreciation against the dollar, making imports costlier.

However, government sources were of the view that after the deregulation, the State-owned oil companies were not required to consult anyone in the government before hiking prices. “The government does not want to become unpopular, but sometimes it is forced to take unpopular decisions. It is not that the government is running for the Nobel prize for unpopularity. The government does unpopular things only when it becomes inevitable,'' a senior official in the government remarked.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 14, 2020 8:49:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mamata-a-compulsive-populist/article2601178.ece

Next Story