Didn’t intend to hurt anyone: Athawale on fuel price remark

Mumbai: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Sunday clarified that he did not have any intentions to hurt people’s sentiments by saying that he was unfazed by the hike in fuel prices.

“I was in Jaipur when a journalist asked me if I have any problem with rising prices of petrol and diesel. I had said that I have no problem since I’m a Minister and we are provided government vehicles. But people do face problems and prices should be brought down. I didn’t say this to insult anyone,” Athawale told ANI.

“If it has hurt people’s sentiments, I express my apology. I had no intention to do this. I am a common man who became a Minister. I know the problems people face. I am a part of the government. I feel that prices of petrol and diesel should be brought down,” he added.

On Saturday, while referring to the allowances he gets as Union Minister, Athawale told reporters: “I am not suffering from rising fuel prices as I am a minister. I may suffer if I lose my ministerial post.”

Acknowledging that people are suffering due to the hike in fuel prices, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment further said, “It’s understandable that people are suffering from rising fuel prices and it’s the duty of the government to reduce them.”

Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India, assured that the Centre is working on the matter.

Citizens are, however, yet to experience respite as petrol in New Delhi is being sold 28 paise higher at Rs. 81.91 per litre, and diesel at Rs. 73.72 per litre after a hike of 18 paise.