Allies express reservations on capping cooking gas subsidies

New Delhi: DMK and NCP, key allies of the UPA, are today said to have expressed reservations on the government’s decision to cap subsidies on cooking gas even as UPA gave a broad backing to the economic reform measures .

At the meeting of the UPA Coordination Committee here, DMK leader T R Baalu, wanted the government to double the entitlements of subsidised LPG cylinders to 12 per year.When it was conveyed to him that the cap cannot be raised, then he is said to have brought down his demand down to nine. That was also turned down.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar also reportedly supported the DMK demand for increasing the entitlement of subsidised LPG cylinders.The allies did not oppose the diesel price hike or the FDI in retail decisions.

Briefing reporters on the deliberations of the UCC, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the UPA leaders expressed “general satisfaction” over the economic reform decisions to allow FDI in retail, cap cooking gas subsidy and hike diesel prices.

Trinamool Congress, the second largest UPA constituent, had walked out of the government after these decisions were announced about a fortnight ago.At a meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underlined the need for economic reforms to ensure flow of foreign investment.

Congress spokesman Rashid Alvi steered clear of questions on UPA leaders’ opposition to the government decision on capping LPG subsidy.”Whatever the Finance Minister, as spokesman for the UCC, has said is the opinion and agreed view of the meeting,” Alvi said.