The Centre on Tuesday reduced the price of domestic liquified petroleum gas, or LPG, by Rs 200, months ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram.
A 14.2-kg LPG cylinder in Delhi was priced Rs 1,103. However, it will now cost Rs 903. The price of a domestic LPG cylinder is now Rs 902 in Mumbai while it is Rs 929 in Kolkata and Rs 918 in Chennai. The changes are effective from Wednesday.
The beneficiaries of the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala scheme, which provides a subsidy of Rs 200, will get the LPG cylinder at Rs 703. The Centre has also announced that it will provide an additional 75 lakh Ujjwala connections, taking the total beneficiaries to 10.35 crores.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government, however, said that the decision was announced as a “gift” for women ahead of Raksha Bandhan and Onam.
“This is a gift to crores of my sisters of the country on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an official release. “Our government will always do everything possible that improves people’s quality of life and benefits the poor and middle class.”
The move comes as the Congress, in its election campaign, promised to provide LPG cylinder at Rs 500 in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress government in Rajasthan has already cut the price of cooking gas to Rs 500 per cylinder for poor households by providing additional subsidy support.
“Expect more such ‘gifts’ in the coming months as the prime minister becomes even more desperate to cling on to his chair,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.
He claimed that the LPG price were one of the main issues ahead of the Karnataka Assembly polls in May. He also listed Opposition alliance INDIA’s two “successful meetings” so far as one of the reasons that triggered the Centre’s decision on Tuesday.
“Three months before the 5 state elections, where BJP is staring at certain defeat, and six months before the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is literally clutching at straws,” Ramesh said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also said that the Centre’s decision was influenced by the INDIA’s two meetings.
“Till now, only TWO meetings have been held in the past TWO months by the INDIA alliance and today, we see that LPG prices have gone down by Rs. 200,” the Trinamool Congress chief said in a tweet.
The Aam Aadmi Party alleged that the BJP often imposes exorbitant price increase on cooking gas, petrol and diesel in four out of five years of its rule and then announces price reductions just months ahead of the polls.