The rising prices of essential commodities came back to haunt the government on Wednesday with a combined opposition stalling proceedings in Parliament, in support of countrywide protests by nine major trade unions.
Slogan-shouting MPs forced Lok Sabha to be adjourned for the day while Rajya Sabha lost its first hour (question hour).
In Lok Sabha, MPs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Shiv Sena said the Centre seemed complacent while prices were consistently rising. “Mehangai roko, warna gaddi chor do (stop price rise or step down),” they shouted.
The same scene was re-enacted in Rajya Sabha.
When the House finally resumed business, Tapan Sen (Communist Party of India-Marxist) demanded “a complete reversal of policy direction and ban on speculative trade in commodities”. He said the unions’ protests were a result of “government inaction and distorted package to industry in the name of recession”.
The BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia said the government should immediately intervene since the wages paid to workers don’t match the increase in inflation.
Outside Parliament, unions affiliated to the Congress, BJP and Left joined hands against the “government’s economic policies, which are directly responsible for price rise”.
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said: “The government is ready for a debate. Prices can’t be brought down just by boycotting the debate.”