New Delhi: The Election Commission on Wednesday disapproved Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily's announcement of raising subsidised LPG quota and asked him to be circumspect in future. Moily had announced that the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders could be raised from six to nine.
Taking a note of the announcement, the Election Commission had served a notice to Moily saying that it was a violation of the model code of conduct as the announcement came barely 24 hours ahead of the first phase of polling in Gujarat. This was the second notice from the Election Commission to the government with the last being over direct cash transfers. The election panel had asked the government to put the cash transfer on hold till Gujarat polls were over.
But Moily's announcement was seen as a well thought out strategy. Feedback within the party has revealed fierce voter anger against this decision of the UPA and the Congress was waiting for a right time to increase the cap. Moily's "timed declaration" also angered the Opposition.
Government sources said that both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are worried as to how to foot the subsidy bill in case the cap is raised. In fact this was what was asked by the Finance Minister to Moily. It's a tight rope walk for the government. Political compulsions say that cap should be raised at least before the next round of Assembly polls in 2013. But economic demands reason out a cut in subsidies.