The government came under attack in the Parliament over its decision to gradually do away with the LPG subsidy as the Opposition members termed it cruel and demanded that the proposal is withdrawn.
Meanwhile, union petroleum minister clarifying the decision saying the move flowed from a June 2010 decision under the previous UPA government to raise prices every month in small quantum to completely eliminate subsidies.
While members in Lok Sabha like K C Venugopal of Congress and Sudip Bandhopadhyay of TMC described the move as anti-welfare saying it will adversely affect the common man and there was no justification for it when the crude oil prices had gone down, they staged a walk-out from the House as they sought a response from the government.
In the Upper House, the Opposition looked united as it stalled the pre-noon proceedings in the Rajya Sabha protesting against the government's move. Congress, SP, TMC, BSP and Left MPs stormed into the Well of the House shouting slogans seeking withdrawal of the decision, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to first adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes and then till noon.
The issue was raised by Derek O'Brien (TMC) who gave a notice under rule 267 that seeks to set aside the business of the day to discuss an important issue.
He said the government was not fulfilling its social commitment to provide cooking gas at subsidised rates. Oil prices have come down from USD 111 per barrel to USD 48 but the government is raising rates of cooking fuel, he said.
The opposition members rushed into the Well shouting slogans against the decision, forced to adjourn the proceedings for 10 minutes. When the House met again, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the people had voluntarily given up their subsidies in the hope that subsidised cooking gas will be given to the poor.
Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan clarified over the government’s move saying it flowed from a June 2010 decision under the previous UPA government to raise prices every month in small quantum to completely eliminate subsidies.
Amidst the slogan shouting by members, Pradhan read out from a document that listed the decision and those who endorsed it. He said the BJP-led government has in the last three years raised the LPG connections from 14 crore to 21 crore and given as many as 2.6 crore free connections to poor women household members.
Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said when Parliament was in session, the decision should not have been announced outside. Members of the House trooped into the Well raising slogans.