Congress on Tuesday said that a high-level meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on inflation shows the UPA government's "sensitivity" towards the issue, but put the onus on the states to check the menace.
"The real challenge is how do you reduce the gap between the farm gate prices and the prices which consumers pay, and to a large extent the responsibility also vests with the state governments...because the power to act to take action against profiteers, hoarders and those who speculate are with state governments," party spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters.
Tewari at the same time maintained that "the Prime Minister personally convened a meeting of the senior most ministers of the UPA government to take cognizance of the situation itself, (which) shows the sensitivity of the UPA government".
The Prime Minister held the meeting with senior ministers including finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister P Chidambaram, and Food and Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. The meeting remained inconclusive and "another round of discussion may be held tomorrow," a source said.
Expressing hope that the state governments would exercise their powers effectively to contain the menace, Tewari clarified that he was not differentiating on this count between Congress or non-Congress governments.
"I am talking about state governments as entities," he said, adding that the states should act on the lines of the Centre, which used its investigative agencies to check hoarding and profiteering in different parts of the country and carried out widespread raids last week.