While Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has been supporting the recent reform measures announced by the Centre, the party’s Maharashtra unit seems to be singing a different tune.
The Maharashtra wing of NCP, a key ally of the Congress at the Centre and in the state, has said it wants the state government to consider the financial implications before increasing the upper limit for subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders from six to nine. NCP, Congress party’s co-partner in Maharashtra since 1999, wants clarification on whether the state may have to bear an additional financial burden of at least Rs 1,000 crore.
After the Centre had decided to limit the number of subsidised cylinders at six per annum, the Congress party announced nine subsidized cylinders in party-ruled states. A subsidised LPG cylinder costs Rs 399, while the market rate for the same is Rs 746. The state unit of NCP says the government should separate nucleus and joint families, identify rich persons especially with monthly income of Rs 5 lakh and above and those paying tax returns. Party spokesman Nawab Malik told Business Standard. “Our party is not at all against the recent reforms decisions per se. Our leader and union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has already clarified the party's stand.”
A NCP minister, who did not want to be identified, said the issue can be discussed at the state level coordination committee of both Congress and NCP. “Such a crucial decision deserves in depth analysis as the government will have to shell out money for the same.
The government will have to work out the financial requirements as initial estimates show Rs 1,000 crore. Our party believes that hiking the supply of subsidized LPG cylinders cannot be taken in a hasty manner.”
Malik also said that the party is not opposed to the diesel price hike, but subsidized diesel should not be supplied to the rich.