Poll panel sends notice to Deora on fuel price cut

November 26th, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The Election Commission Wednesday issued a notice to Petroleum Minister Murli Deora for his alleged violation of the model code of conduct by announcing that prices of petrol and diesel would be cut after the assembly elections.The notice, issued to Petroleum Secretary R.S. Pandey, sought a reply by Thursday afternoon.

The commission also forwarded to the ministry a copy of the memorandum submitted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday, complaining about the announcement made Tuesday.

“The commission desires that your comments on the allegations made and the points raised therein as well as on the press reports with regard to the violation of the model code of conduct may kindly be sent to the commission urgently and latest by 3.00 p.m. on Thursday,” the commission said in the notice to Deora and the petroleum secretary.

Deora Tuesday said the government would reduce the prices of petrol and diesel after Dec 24 when the elections in the states get over.

The BJP complained to the commission that the Congress-led government’s announcement violated the model code of electoral conduct laid down by the panel.

Earlier Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shanker Prasad, vice-presdient Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and secretary Balbir Punj submitted the party memorandum to the commission.

“We submitted a memorandum to the full bench of the commission, demanding strict action against the Congress party for making such an announcement when the elections are still going on in five states though the process in Chhattisgarh is over,” Naqvi told IANS.

Initially, Election Commission sources Tuesday said they prima facie found no legitimate basis for the BJP’s complaint of violation of model code of conduct since the party itself has been demanding that the government cut the petrol an diesel prices as the international oil prices have slumped to $50 a barrel from nearly $148 a barrel five months back.

The commission officials also seemed to suggest that Deora’s announcement on oil prices reduction did not strictly violate the model code of conduct as it applied to the entire country and not just the five states going to elections.

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