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Govt should convene all-party meet on Price Rise: BJP

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Jul 4 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party today demanded the UPA Government to convene an all-party meeting and a meeting of all chief ministers on the issue of steep price rise of all commodities.

"The BJP has already expressed its serious concern over the price rise issue and now demands the government convene an all party meeting and the meeting of chief ministers to finalise a strategy to contain the price rise," BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.

He said the BJP would meanwhile continue with its agitation over the issue. The party office-bearers would meet here on July 12 where the issue would be discussed to prepare the party's strategy to strengthen the agitation.

Besides the meeting would also deliberate on organisational matters and preparations for the coming elections in Punjab, UP and Uttranchal.

Claiming the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was playing the ''second fiddle'' to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mr Javadekar said that Dr Singh, who himself was a noted economist, had miserably failed to contain the increase in prices of various commodities.

''Dr Manmohan Singh had much more freedom as Finance Minister under the stewardship of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao than as Prime Minister under Sonia Gandhi, ''he added.

The party meanwhile demanded a Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 2700 per quintal of cotton for farmers.

The party also termed the PM's Vidarbha visit as a failure, saying that the Rs 3,750 crore relief to cotton farmers of Maharashtra, was nothing but a ''eye-wash'' as he had failed to address the real issue behind the spate of suicides by farmers.

The party said the Prime Minister had not done anything to change the UPA Government's policy and take corrective steps.

Elaborating, Mr Javadekar said the greatest blunder by the UPA Government was its decision to reduce duty on imported cotton and its failure to increase Minimum Support Price of the commodity.

Besides the Government had discontinued the 30-year old Cotton Monopoly Procurement Scheme under which the Government was the monopolised buyer to pay a remunerative price to farmers.

Instead of offering a remunerative minimum support price, the Government was purchasing cotton at just Rs 1700 to Rs 1900 per quintal, even as it had made election promise to offer them the MSP of Rs 2750 per quintal. As a result the farmers got into heavy debts, he said.

He said the PM had only agreed to waive interest on loans to farmers, not the total debts. Therefore the package would have almost no impact on the condition of the farmers, Mr Javadekar said, adding at least ten farmers had committed suicide since the PM's visit and the trend would continue.

The NDA Government had been offering the MSP ranging from Rs 2100 per quintal to Rs 2500 per quintal during its regime, he added.

UNI KAS/MCN VD HT1700

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