Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Wednesday came under the scanner of the Election Commission in the wake of his announcement of a possible fuel price cut after the end of assembly elections on December 24 in alleged violation of the model code of conduct.
The EC issued notices to Deora as also Petroleum Secretary RS Pandey asking them to reply by 3:00 pm on Thursday.
The notices followed main opposition BJP approaching the EC dubbing the announcement as a "patent violation" of the Model Code of Conduct.
"The Commission desires that your comments on the allegations made and the points raised therein as well as of the press reports with regard to the violation of the Model Code of Conduct may kindly be sent to the Commission urgently and latest by 3.00 pm on Thursday," the EC notice to Deora said.
The EC sought Pandey's comments over his reported remarks that the ministry would send a proposal for price cut and related subsidy issues to the union cabinet next month.
Deora said BJP should have thanked him for reducing prices and not approached the EC.
"They should not go to the EC. On the contrary, they should thank me if I am saying the prices are being reduced," the minister told reporters here.
"We are working on it. Let the prices stablise. We will try our best and do whatever is right and best for the people," he said.
Deora dubbed the BJP move to approach the EC as "accepting political defeat". "I think they lost the election. When you lose an election, you make such statements as otherwise there is no reason," he said.
He maintained that he did not make the announcement "knowingly". "I would never do something knowingly which is a violation of the election code of conduct" the minister said.
"They are saying reduce the price and if I say 'ok I'll reduce the price' they say we are going to the Election Commission," he said.
Union Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal saw no wrong in what Deora had done.
"Deora had merely said a decision has to be taken by the government and there is no promise involved," he said adding voters are aware that when global prices come down domestic fuel prices are also reduced.