The BJP-led opposition tried to pin down the government over price rise in both Houses of Parliament on all of Thursday — a day before Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee presents Budget 2010-11.
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar responded to all the barbs during the daylong debate in the Lok Sabha by simply saying, “The worst is over,” while the entire opposition staged a walkout.
In the Rajya Sabha, leader of the opposition, Arun Jaitley, said the price rise has pushed the average citizen to the wall and the government must either “act or perish.” “If there is a single largest failure, as far as this government is concerned, it is its management of the food prices,” Jaitley said.
The witty Jaitley was in fine form as he drew parallels between prices of essential commodities and the double century scored by Sachin Tendulkar.
“…In terms of inflation, this government is competing with Sachin Tendulkar... It has crossed a century as far as dal prices are concerned… a half century as far as sugar prices are concerned,” he said.
Making an intervention during the discussion in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed willingness to explore the “huge cost of intermediation from the farm gate to the kitchen”, while saying that price rise was an economic, and not a political issue.
While the BJP attacked the government in New Delhi, many of its workers were injured when they clashed with police (Page 8) during a rally against price rise in Lucknow.