The Election Commission of India on Tuesday took strong exception to the Centre's move to increase the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders ahead of the Gujarat elections and asked it to stop it forthwith.
The EC also sought an explanation from Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily by Wednesday morning for his announcement about raising the cap .
Taking suo moto cognizance of Moily's announcement, the Commission held an emergency meeting soon after he said the government will raise the cap on supply of subsidised cooking gas (LPG) to nine cylinders per household a year from six at present.
The EC, at its meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, shot off two separate letters to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry and the Minister.
It directed the Ministry to immediately stop the move, which came just ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections and at a time when the Model Code of Conduct is in force there, and also sought Moily's explanation on the issue.
The first phase of Gujarat poll is on December 13 and the second and final phase on December 17.
With the Model Code of Conduct in operation, the Commission in its letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, said it "directs that the move for the reported increase in supply of subsidised gas cylinders, if any, must be stopped forthwith under confirmation to the Commission."
"The Commission has taken strong exception to your aforesaid announcement when the first phase of polling in the state of Gujarat is only two days away. The Commission has desired that you explain your above action at this juncture," the EC said in its letter to Moily.
The poll body asked for the Minister's explanation by 11 am on Wednesday.