Petrol prices will not be raised this fortnight as the State-owned Oil firms could not get political clearance for over Rs 2 per litre hike in rates needed to achieve parity with the imported cost on account of the weakening rupee.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and other State-run firms, which had last month stopped hiking petrol prices as the Government was wary of protests while Parliament was in session, are not raising the rates even this fortnight, sources said.

Furthermore, Assembly elections in five crucial States, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, have been announced and a hike in petrol prices will create a ‘negative image’, said the sources.

A hike of over Rs 2 per litre was necessitated because the rupee depreciated to Rs 53.07 per US dollar in the second fortnight of December, based on which the rates on January 1 were to be decided. The average exchange rate stood at Rs 51.98 per US dollar in the first fortnight of December.