The Congress has expressed concern over rising prices, particularly of food items and has asked the Centre to take steps to check it.
The Congress’s worry comes in the backdrop of Prime Minister’s own expression of concern over rising prices because of poor monsoon, an August 17 agitation planned by the BJP against price rise and the impact these can have on the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
There is no word on it so far, but Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is likely to call a meeting of the Congress Working Committee to discuss the issue.
“The party wants concrete steps to be taken to control the prices and increase the production and availability of pulses, oilseeds and sugar to ensure that there is no shortage,’’ said AICC general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi.
His colleague Abhishek Singhvi also expressed concern on the issue.
There are fears in the Congress that the drought will worsen the price situation after a couple of months. “The two situations will converge and its impact will be felt after the festival season in October… Right now, we have a buffer stock of foodgrains,” said a Congress leader not willing to be named.
So far, the party has been blaming everyone but the Centre’s handling of its three main challenges: price rise, drought and swine flu.
If price rise is because of hoarders, drought resulted from absence of monsoon. As for the swine flu, party leaders maintain the situation in other countries is far worse.
On price rise, Singhvi admitted: “We are concerned.” But added, “it (price rise) is because of hoarding and black marketing and the main responsibility is of the state governments (to take strong action).”