- Nitish Kumar's JD(U) recognised as principal opposition party in Bihar, BJP protests
- SC extends Setalvad's interim bail and asks her lawyer Kapil Sibal not to 'act smart'
- Aero India Show: Stunt planes collide in mid-air, pilots safe
- Swine flu deaths soar to 663, number of cases cross 10,000
- Maratha Mandir brings down curtains on Shah Rukh Khan's DDLJ
* The directive given by the Election Commission (EC) to the UPA, not to increase the subsidised LPG cylinder quota from six to nine due to the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, is wrong. The decision has nothing to do with the election, nor is it an attempt by the Congress to influence voters ('Govt "raises" subsidised LPG cylinders to 9, fuming Election Commission puts a cap on it', IE, December 12). The EC should not object to the increase in the LPG quota because of the Gujarat elections, because voters will choose their preferred candidate irrespective of this decision or the EC's directive. In fact, the UPA must immediately release the new quota for the benefit of the people, who are now struggling to cope with reduced LPG.
* THE EC has rightly taken exception to the government's untimely decision to increase the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders. It is anybody's guess as to whether sending such signals, when there are elections on in Gujarat, is deliberate or not. The LPG cap hike is merely the correction of a mistake made by the government. It should not be used for political gain now or in the future.
* THE defeat of the opposition's motion in both Houses of Parliament against FDI in retail shows that the anti-Congress space has reduced ('Parliament tussle: Opposition motion against FDI in retail defeated in the Lok Sabha', IE, December 5). The Samajwadi Party abstained from voting and three Telugu Desam Party members absented themselves from the House at the time of the vote. The BSP voted against the opposition. There is also no more noise about the much-hyped Lokpal Bill. All this shows the anti-Congress wave is receding. A realignment in favour of the Congress/UPA can happen only if it is able to push forth its economic agenda. The time is ripe for that, since it is reported that the UPA has got the BJP on board for the insurance and pension bills. The only hurdle that the government is yet to confront is the amendment of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, against which CPM leader Sitaram Yechury has already spoken.