Some people who had set up "political retail shops" were okay with India importing gas at high prices but not for exploring energy within the country, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said Thursday in an apparent dig at Aam Aadmi Party's Arvind Kejriwal.
Addressing the Energy Security Conference in New Delhi, Khurshid said it was "sad" that the country lacked clarity on what it means to invite people for energy exploration.
"This is converted into a political boxing match… We are happy to import gas at $14 but not willing to give $7 to someone who wants to explore within the country… This is a major problem," the minister, who did not refer to Kejriwal by name, said.
He added that there was need to develop public opinion on what was best for country and "not a decision that serves a political party or movement, and not for those people who put up, what I call, political retail shops in the country, simply because the sound bites have replaced serious democratic discourse of the day".
In October, Kejriwal had alleged that Reliance Industries was blackmailing the government to hike the price for supplying gas from the Krishna Godavari basin allotted to it. He alleged that Reliance, which was awarded the contract in 2000 by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, had agreed to supply gas to the National Thermal Power Corp for the next 17 years at $2.5 per unit.
But, said Kejriwal, the company revised the rate and was now demanding $14.25 per unit. He had demanded scrapping of the deal with the company.
Kejriwal had also alleged financial impropriety by Khurshid and his wife in the running of a NGO for disabled people, which the minister has denied.