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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Poll panel says no to centre's economic push

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 24, 2014
First Published: 00:30 IST(24/3/2014) | Last Updated: 00:49 IST(24/3/2014)

The Election Commission is likely to impose curbs on the UPA government’s effort to push its economic agenda ahead of the polls. This would include a cap on gas prices from April 1 and not allowing foreign direct investment in construction and real estate sectors.

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On Thursday, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had asked the commission not to allow the government to implement its decision to increase gas prices till the election process was over.

“This policy decision, which the government is set to implement from April 1, is a clear violation of the model code since it is directly aimed at providing huge financial benefits to Reliance Industries Limited and falls within the ambit of corrupt practices during elections,” Kejriwal had said in his letter to EC.

Reliance Industries had denied his claim, saying the gas price issue was based on a pricing formula. The government had decided to double the domestic gas price from April 1, keeping in view the high cost of imported gas.

An EC functionary, however, wondered at the hurry. “Postponing the gas price decision for two months will not make any difference to the company but would help ensure a level playing field in elections,” he said.

The EC is also not keen on letting the Centre allow FDI in construction and railways now, saying it could have electoral implications.


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