Centre has lost direction: Jaitley
A day after the government came under fire from a combined opposition on the issue of price rise in Lok Sabha, it faced the heat in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. HT reports.Updated: Aug 04, 2010, 23:26 IST
A day after the government came under fire from a combined opposition on the issue of price rise in Lok Sabha, it faced the heat in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Led by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and senior CPM leader, Sitaram Yechury, speakers from the Opposition benches launched a scathing attack on the UPA for its failure to check the rising prices.
Initiating the debate, Jaitley said the Centre had "lost direction and appeared paralysed".
He termed price rise an "unlegislated tax" on the common man.
"Containing inflation was a mirage for this government which drives through the desert... it is a government of alibis."
Referring to promises made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his ministerial colleagues to check price rise, Jaitley said, "Alibi is not a substitute for the tears and hunger of common man. This government needs to have little compassion so far as the common-man is concerned."
Jaitley also said there was "a civil war within the government" on dealing with the Maoist menace and that the dialogue with Pakistan had ended in a "misadventure".
Holding the Centre responsible for allowing foodgrains to rot, Jaitley said it showed "callousness and irresponsibility unmatched in history".
Countering Jaitley, Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan said instead of suggesting new ideas to address the issue, the opposition politicised the issue.
"I was expecting a road map from the leader of opposition considering his experience and the experience of people in his party," she said.
Yechury blamed the government's "faulty policies" for rising prices.
"Do not inflict burden on aam aadmi by making the rich richer with 52 billionaires in the country having combined assets equal to 25 per cent of the gross domestic product," he said.
He said 77 per cent of the population survived on less than Rs 20 a day.
"It is IPL India and BPL India."
He demanded universalisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) and release of extra foodgrains stocked by it.
"Three million tonnes of wheat are rotting as per reports despite the Supreme Court chiding the government as to why it cannot give it to the poor," he said.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is expected to reply to the debate on Thursday.