The Congress Tuesday attacked the Centre over rising prices of vegetables and other essential food items, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'Mehengaai Man' and demanding immediate steps from his government to address the issue.
The women's wing of the party also held a protest outside the BJP office here, demanding relief for people from rising inflation of essential food items.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate told a press conference, where the party had kept a basket of tomatoes, garlic, ginger and green chillies, this could be a good gift option given that it costs over Rs 1,070 because of the rising inflation.
Narrating the story of a "king" whose followers used to mislead people over rising prices, Shrinate said, "The king whose name is 'Mehengaai Man' is Narendra Modi."
"Does the government care? Does the man who has brought the onslaught of rising prices care? Is the government taking any steps to reverse the situation, is the government doing anything possible within its rights to bring people relief? I think the answer to all of that is a big 'no'," she said.
The reality is that unemployment in the country is at a two-year high, Shrinate said, alleging that the government has continued to look away.
Referring to the rising prices of vegetables, Shrinate said tomatoes are being sold for Rs 160, coriander at Rs 200, ginger at Rs 400 and chilli at Rs 400.
"The reality is that the prices of spices have gone up. Zeera has gone up to Rs 800 per kg, and pulses as common as tur or arhar daal are costing anywhere between Rs 160 to Rs 170. Prices of rice and wheat have gone up. What about the common man, what about the middle class," she asked.
The contention that the government cannot do anything as these items are seasonal is wrong, Shrinate said, citing the examples of Congress governments in Rajasthan and other states providing relief to people from rising prices.
The Congress leader also alleged that the government was busy profiteering as crude prices have stayed at around USD 65 per barrel but the benefit has not been transferred to the people.
"We ask the government to take immediate steps so that some relief can be brought to the people of this country. We expect the government to rationalise fuel prices. We expect the government to reduce prices so that diesel prices come down so that prices of vegetables can come down," she said.
"We expect the government to stop profiteering through taxes...and people who are really reeling under price rise be given some fiscal help," Shrinate added.
Prices of everyday use items such as biscuits, tea leaves and chocolate have gone up too, she further said, adding that the packets of these products often carry the same price tag as before but have lesser quantity.
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