New Delhi, July 7 :
The Rajya Sabha Monday took up a discussion on price rise, with the opposition blaming the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for pushing inflation further since it came to power.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, tried to blame the previous government, calling inflation a “legacy of the UPA”.
Starting the debate in the upper house, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad slammed the BJP for taking steps which resulted in increasing inflation.
“The whole campaign of BJP was based on price rise. People voted for them, and as soon as they came in power, they took steps which caused further price rise,” Azad said while starting the debate.
“They used to accuse us of being insensitive to the problems of the poor, in a month and a quarter of the new government, the common man is suffering badly due to price rise,” he added.
Since coming to power, the BJP-led government has raised rail passenger fares and freight charges, besides hiking petrol, diesel and LPG rates.
The BJP, however, blamed the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for the situation.
“It is a truth that people are suffering due to price rise. But who is responsible for it? It is a legacy of the UPA government,” BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury asked if the BJP is carrying forward the UPA’s legacy.
“Is this a relay race that NDA government is carrying forward UPA’s legacy?” said Yechury.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati took a jibe at the BJP, saying the party and its partners promised that poverty, inflation and corruption would vanish as soon as it came to power.
“Such assurances were given but after coming to power it started a new tradition. Railway minister increased passenger fare and freight charges,” she said.
Mayawati said the BJP cannot stop hoarding as it is a party of traders. She added traders and business communities were engaged in hoarding and not the farmers.
She said “achhe din nahi aaye hain, mehenge din aaye hain (good days have not come, costly days have come)” in reference to the BJP’s election slogan.
The BJP’s six-month election campaign had centred on price rise, the opposition said.
Referring to the rail fare and freight hike, Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien said the “trainee” Railway Minister has not read the Vision 2020 document.
He said the hike will affect the poor. “Why give them the bitter pill? (Government) should have waited for the (rail) budget,” he said, adding that increasing freight charges was not the solution.
Naresh Agrawal of the Samajwadi Party (SP) said his party had decided to give the new government six months to show results, but has been forced to criticise it quite early. He wanted to know what action was the government taking to deal with hoarding. He said the government should have waited till the Railway budget before hiking rates.
Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) pointed out that prices of not only vegetables and food grain have gone up, but prices of almost everything like cement and electronic items have also gone up. He said middlemen were responsible for inflation as farmers were selling their produce at low rates.