Don't play politics with hunger, Congress tells BJP

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New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) Accusing the Opposition BJP-led NDA of using the spiralling inflation as an electoral opportunity, the Congress today said the prices of essential commodities would moderate within six weeks.

Union Minister and AICC National Media Committee Convener Kapil Sibal told mediapersons that the NDA should first look at the rate of inflation prevalent at the time when it was in power, rather than making a hue and cry on the issue of inflation.

He pointed out that the inflation rate hovered between six and eight per cent during the NDA rule in 2000-01.

For 48 out of 52 weeks during 2000-01, inflation was over six per cent, in 22 of those weeks, inflation was over seven per cent, and in 12 of those weeks, it was over eight per cent. The principal contributors to inflation in that year were fuel and power.

Giving out the present inflation rate prevalent in states, Mr Sibal said about 13 states had recorded a low to moderate inflation rate of three to six per cent in March 2008, which included BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as well.

"This in itself reflects on the hollowness of BJP's anti-price rise campaign." In this context, he said the NDA should understand that in a globalised economy, global inflationary trends were bound to have their effects on the country. Though the government had taken several anti-inflationary measures, it would take time to reflect on the prices of commodities.

He said it took the NDA government about a year to moderate the surging inflation rate during 2000-01.

Apparently referring to the statement of US President George Bush blaming growing consumption among the middle class in India for the global food crisis, Mr Sibal said the United States consumed more cereals, including wheat, rice, maize and corn than either India or China.

According to the FAO report, the consumption of cereals by India was projected to have grown 2.17 per cent from 193.1 million tonnes in 2006-07 to 197.3 million tonnes in 2007-08. In the same period, the consumption of cereals in the US had been projected to have grown 11.81 per cent from 277.6 million tonnes to 310.4 million tonnes.


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