In politics, it doesn’t take much for friends to turn into foes. On Thursday, as the Opposition slammed the Budget, RJD leader Lalu Prasad too joined in, warning the government that all its plans to revive the economy in these times of recession would fail if strong measures are not initiated to deal with drought. He also demanded that black money stashed away abroad be brought back to India.
The RJD chief said the previous UPA government had changed the foodgrain situation from one lacking self-sufficiency to reaching a state where it was exporting it. “But today the poor do not even have pulse and potato. People from my state tell me they are buying beans from Uttar Pradesh at Rs 22 a kg,” he said.
He said Bihar was also devastated by Kosi floods and such devastation was becoming an annual feature. He said the Centre should not discriminate between “Lalu and Nitish (Bihar Chief Minister)” while giving central aid to the state.
Initiating the debate, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi called for zero tolerance for hunger similar to zero tolerance for terrorism. “No one should stay hungry, no farmer should be debt ridden.”
Addressing Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Joshi said, “You have set a 9 per cent economic growth target and a 4 per cent growth target for agriculture. It is an ambitious target. If you ensure this, it will be a miracle.”
Joshi, however, offered his party’s help in bringing the economy on the right track to help farmers and agriculture reach their pinnacle of growth.