The Election Commission on Monday asked the government to defer till the elections the controversial doubling of natural gas prices for companies like RIL from next month. The EC was acting on a petition from the Aam Aadmi Party.
After the EC decision, the UPA government is left with no option but to leave the implementation of the Rangarajan pricing formula, that would have hiked gas price from $4.2 per million British thermal unit to $8.3 from April 1, to the new government.
The decision will impact only Reliance Industries, which produces less than 15 per cent of domestic gas, whose contracts end on March 31. The new government may not want to implement the formula, which has been severely criticised in several quarters including user industries like fertiliser and power, for including the cost of importing gas (LNG) in determining rates for domestically produced gas.
Following the EC order, AAP president Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "After elections, if cong comes to power, gas price wud be 8 dollars. If BJP comes to power, it wud be 16 dollars. AAP wants 4 dollars."
Another tweet read: "Both Modi and Rahul Gandhi support high gas prices for Ambani. Only AAP has the courage to directly confront Ambani."