Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Sunday chided Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his ‘dalali’ remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control.
Paswan, the Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution system, was here to inspect the ongoing paddy procurement.
Addressing a press conference, he said: “Earlier, Rahul Gandhi was thanking the PM for the surgical strikes, but then he changed track and started giving the issue political colour.”
Telling Rahul to “remain within his limit”, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader said the issue should not be politicised.
“The PM has said it clearly that no leader should make any statement on the affairs of defence forces. So I will not make any comment over the issue,” added the minister. Rahul Gandhi had accused Modi of exploiting sacrifices of the soldiers.
‘Kejri backstabbed people in Delhi’
Targeting other political adversaries as well, Paswan slammed Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for “backstabbing” the people of Delhi. “Kejriwal should first take care of people of Delhi and then try to befool the people of Punjab,” he said.
The Union minister also accused Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar of playing politics over liquor ban in the state, also Paswan’s home state. He said earlier Nitish turned people into addicts and has now imposed the ban on liquor.
‘FCI will procure 12% paddy from Punjab’
Denying any plan to divide the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the Union minister said the corporation will be procuring 12% of its paddy requirement from Punjab.
Informing the gathering about a new policy to reduce wastage and hoarding, Paswan said now no trader can store any food commodity for more than 18 months.
‘Govt agencies to procure pulses too’
Attributing rising prices of pulses to the supply-demand gap, the Union minister said the production has been on the rise in recent years, with 200-lakh tonne expected this year as compared to 176-lakh tonne last year, but it is still less than the demand of 246-lakh tonne.
Paswan said the government has decided to procure pulses the same way it procures wheat and paddy, although these are not a part of the public distribution system. Claiming that the Centre has stocks of 20 lakh tonne of pulses, he said more will be imported to bring down the prices.