A day after the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi reportedly blamed coalition compulsions for price rise, a key UPA ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which saw it as an attack on its chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, blew hot and cold on the issue.
The Congress, meanwhile, said media reports were “completely erroneous”, and Gandhi did not refer to either Pawar or the NCP on the price rise issue.
Earlier, NCP spokesperson DP Tripathi termed Gandhi’s statement as unfortunate. Tripathi said the Congress must realise that the days of single-party rule were over. “The election verdicts of 2004 and 2009 are for coalition and not collision,” Tripathi said.
NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar said it was an injustice to blame Pawar alone for the price rise. In a bid to end the controversy, senior NCP leader Praful Patel SMSed his statement to reporters.
“I don’t think Rahul Gandhi’s statement should be read in the context of the current coalition as he was replying to a general question asked by students. He has not criticised any party in particular. I think the remarks of DP Tripathi have been blown out of context,” Patel said.
He also said he did not support Tripathi’s statements taunting Congress to seek inspiration from Italian government over coalition politics and controlling inflation.
"Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. We at the Centre have been working perfectly together,” said Patel.
“At a closed door meet, in which the media was asked to leave after the first two minutes, in response to a query on price rise, Rahul Gandhi said it is the responsibility of the Centre and particularly the states to take steps to tackle it,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi.
“At no point did he refer to any coalition partner or the NCP or Mr Pawar,” he added.
“Here’s someone projected as messiah of youth leadership saying such a thing. Vajpayeeji headed a coalition and yet prices remained stable,” said the BJP’s Nirmala Sitaraman.