Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale Sunday apologised for his remarks, a day after he said he was unfazed by the rising fuel prices as he is a minister.
“Journalists had asked me prices of petrol and diesel are rising and if I have any problem with it. I had said I’ve no problem, I’m a Minister, we’re provided government vehicles. But people do face problems and prices should be brought down. I didn’t say this to insult anyone,” he said.
He also demanded that the fuel prices be brought down. “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 govt & I demand that the price of petrol-diesel should be brought down,” he said.
On Saturday, 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.”
The union minister, however, acknowledged the people’s suffering due to the incessant rise in petrol and diesel prices and admitted that it is the government’s duty to reduce them. “It’s understandable that people are suffering from rising fuel prices and it’s the duty of the government to reduce them,” Athawale said.
Athawale, whose Republican Party is a BJP ally, assured that the BJP led central government is formulating ways to bring down the fuel prices. However, he also underlined that the prices for fuel can be reduced if the respective state governments cut their taxes. “The price of fuel can be reduced if the states cut the tax on it. The Centre is seriously working on the issue,” he said.
(With Inputs from ANI)