BJP wants PM to explain Reddy's exit from petro ministry

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 31, 2012 19:51 hrs

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh owes an explanation to citizens on why Jaipal Reddy was shifted as minister of petroleum and natural gas.

Party leaders repeated the allegation that the shift was due to Reddy’s stand on Reliance Industries’ Krishna-Godavari gas basin output. The original commitment on output has fallen short by a big margin and there’s been a long period of questioning on the reasons. There have been disputes with the government on cost recovery, on pricing and on an audit by the office of the comptroller and auditor-general (CAG). Reddy was reported to have been staunchly against RIL’s reasoning on these matters. Allegations have been made on the reasoning behind the shift by the India Against Corruption campaign. On Wednesday, BJP leader Jaswant Singh, former Union finance minister, reiterated these and asked why the company was resisting a comprehensive CAG probe and why the government was diluting its earlier stand that one was required. He also asked if Reddy was shifted because RIL wanted to increase the price of gas by a hefty amount and Reddy was against it.

On the allegations also made by IAC against the BJP on gas pricing when in power, the latter said the entire process had been transparent at the time. “Escalation happened during the UPA tenure. Some of the decisions were taken by the empowered group of ministers, and so it is the Prime Minister who should answer these questions,” said Rajiv Pratap Rudy, BJP spokesman.

The Congress dismissed as “baseless” the allegations that the UPA government was favouring Mukesh Ambani, according to a PTI report. AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad sought to turn the table on Arvind Kejriwal, questioning the source of funding of India Against Corruption.

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