Taking suo moto cognisance of reports of the Centre's move ahead of Gujarat assembly polls to increase the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders, the Election Commission has directed it to stop the same forthwith.
The Commission held an emergency meeting soon after the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily said the government will raise the cap on supply of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) to nine cylinders per household a year from six at present.
The EC, at its meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, decided to write to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry asking it to immediately stop the move which came just ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections and at a time when the Model Code of Conduct is in force there.
The first phase of Gujarat poll is on December 13 and the second and final phase on December 17.
The Election Commission, in its letter, has directed the Petroleum and Natural Gas ministry that "the move for reported increase in supply of subsidised gas cylinders, if any, must be stopped forthwith, under confirmation to the Commission."
The EC letter to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry said it has come to know of the government's move on LPG cylinders through media reports quoting the Minister Veerappa Moily.
Announcing the government's plan to raise the cap on LPG cylinders, Moily told reporters that "I think it is likely to go up definitely from six (cylinders) to 9 (cylinders)."
Government had in September capped the supply of subsidised LPG to six cylinders per household in a year. Any additional requirement is to be bought at market price of Rs 931 per 14.2-kg bottle. Subsidised LPG costs Rs 410.50 per cylinder at present.