Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and made a strong case for increasing the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders for households besides sought the passage of key anti-corruption bills in the forthcoming session of Parliament.
Congress sources said Gandhi is expected to meet the Prime Minister once again in the coming days exclusively on the issue of raising the quota of subsidised LPG cylinders.
Soon after Gandhi’s 30-minute meeting with the Prime Minister, a delegation of Congress MPs called on petroleum minister M Veerappa Moily to demand a raise from nine to 12 cylinders a household per year.
On his part, Moily assured Congress MPs Sanjay Nirupam, PC Chacko, Sandeep Dikshit, Mahabal Mishra and Ratan Singh that the government will “seriously consider” the demand.
Moily, who had last week stated that there was no proposal to increase the quota, said he would consult finance minister P Chidambaram and move the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) on the issue.
After the drubbing in the recent assembly elections, a large number of Congress leaders have stepped up the pressure on the UPA government on the issue as many of them feel that the “unpopular measure” of reducing the number of subsidized LPG cylinders might cost the party heavily in the coming Lok Sabha polls as well.
With a view to cutting its subsidy bill, the government had initially capped the supply of subsidised domestic LPG cylinders to six per household in a year in September 2012, but raised the annual quota to nine in January 2013.
Chidambaram too had last week stated that there were demands from several chief ministers to raise the quota and that the government would look into it.
Apart from the LPG issue, Gandhi urged the PM to ensure the passage of bills which seek to create the framework to tackle corruption. These include the whistleblowers’ protection bill, judicial standards and accountability bill, a bill on citizens’ charter, amendments to the prevention of corruption act and the just-passed Lokpal Bill, which has received the President’s assent.