Minister’s reply to notice shows he has not denied his remarks reported in media

The Election Commission on Wednesday disapproved of Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily’s remarks on increasing the cap on subsidised LPG supply, “violating the model code of conduct.”

The Commission — Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and Commissioners H.S. Brahma and S.N.A. Zaidi — which rejected Mr. Moily’s contention that the government was yet to take a decision on the issue, warned him to be more circumspect in future.

A perusal of Mr. Moily’s reply to the EC notice “shows that you have not denied having made the statement as reported in the media and to which the Commission has taken exception.”

Though the Minister said the government was yet to take a decision, his reply to the media queries made it clear that the number of subsidised cooking gas cylinders was being raised from six to nine a year, the EC observed. “Your reply amounts to [an] announcement of promise of financial grant by the government, which the Model Code of Conduct prohibits during its operation when the election process is on.

“Your… statement to the effect that there will be an increase in the number of subsidised gas cylinders to be supplied in a year is tantamount to [an] announcement of financial grant in the form of increased subsidy, and is a clear violation both the letter and spirit of the Model Code.”