Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has expressed “great concern’’ over price rise and its impact on the aam aadmi, for the first time since the issue hit the headlines.
“I am aware that our Prime Minister is very sensitive to this issue and that he knows our party’s thinking that while higher growth is essential, we must, at the same time, ensure the prices of essential commodities specially remain affordable to all sections of society,” Sonia said in her letter to Congress workers in the latest issue of the party’s inhouse journal Sandesh.
Sonia blamed the price rise on international developments and urged state governments to strengthen PDS and act against hoarders and speculators.
“Strengthening of public distribution system is something that state governments are responsible for and is something that they must make a priority. Similarly, it is the state governments that have the powers to control black marketing and hoarding just as the central government has the powers to control speculation. These powers have to be exercised so that the price rise does not affect the aam aadmi,’’ she said.
With a series of assembly polls lined up this year, Sonia urged workers to sustain unity and discipline. “Time and again it has been brought home to us that if we are united and if we are disciplined, we will be successful,’’ she said.
The Congress chief also hit out at the BJP. Unlike the saffron party which played politics in allocating resources, the UPA, she claimed, had gone out of its way to transfer huge amounts of money for development in non-Congress states.
Sonia blamed the BJP for “deliberately and cruelly’’ neglecting agriculture.
“We have had to take very many measures to undo the very adverse impact of this neglect of which the loan waiver is the latest,’’ she said, adding the government also increased minimum support price substantially and enhanced public expenditures for irrigation significantly.