Union minister for steel Beni Prasad Verma landed in a controversy on Monday as he welcomed the rising prices and predicted that the 2014 general elections would be a contest between Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
“The prices of pulses, wheat flour, rice and vegetables have been rising. I am happy as this will benefit the farmers,” Verma said in Barabanki.
After criticism by political parties, the minister said his comment had been misunderstood by the media.
Samajwadi Party (SP) spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said Verma’s statement reflected his insensitivity towards the people. In New Delhi, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi accused the Centre of colluding with the “inflation mafia”.
Verma brushed aside SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remark that the third front would win the 2014 elections.
He said the elections would be a direct fight between Gandhi and Modi, and if Gandhi became Prime Minister, it would be with the blessings of Manmohan Singh.