Attacks government on ‘Dal me Chori’
New Delhi : Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday embarrassed the Modi Government with the charge of massive corruption in pulses, saying “daal me chori” is taking place right under the nose of Narendra Modi “who sought votes in 2014 on the plea that he would be ‘desh ka chowkidar’ (watchdog of country).”
“A farmer sells his pulses at an MSP (minimum support price) of Rs 50 per kg, but pays Rs 180 when he goes to buy it in retail. Who is pocketing this difference of Rs 130,” he asked, hinting at a middleman-trader nexus – a vote constituency of the BJP, which was thriving under the patronage of the government. In the UPA regime, the difference was just Rs 30, the MSP then being Rs 45 and the market price Rs 75, he underscored.
Rahul was participating in a 5-hour long debate in the Lok Sabha on price rise. He threw a challenge at the Prime Minister to set a date by when the prices of pulses, potatoes and tomatoes will come down, and ended his speech with a slogan: “Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi, Arhar Modi” – a take-off on the BJP’s 2014 poll slogan of “Harhar Modi, Harhar Modi.”
“Modiji, jitne khokhle vaade karne hai kariye…Stand up India, Make in India and what not. Par is House ko ek tareekh de dijiye jab market mein daam kam ho jayenge (Keep making as many empty promises as you want, but please give a date by when prices will come down).
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley intervened in the debate to tell Rahul not to look for corruption in the business of pulses, asserting that the market price has nothing to do with the MSP as it rises and falls on the principle of demand and supply.
He said the government is trying to control the prices and is hopeful that a good monsoon would help enhance pulses production which would help tame the spiral. He also criticised Rahul for asking the PM to set a date by which time the prices will come down, asserting that the issues are settled through policies rather than by giving dates. He said the government is working on policies to encourage farmers to produce more to move India towards self-sufficiency in pulses.
Jaitley also cited statistics to show the NDA government had brought down the high inflation “inherited from the UPA.” Rahul also said the Prime Minister claims to have saved Rs 2 lakh crore by plugging loopholes in subsidies and government expenditure.
He said he has no problem with Modi giving Rs 52,000 crore out of it to industrialists by waiving their bank loans. He has no problem either, if the PM helps the industry further which in turn helps the crippled economy to grow, but he only wants to know how much he gave to the farmers and mothers who have to buy pulses at Rs 200 a kilo. “Ek rupiya nahi diya (not a single rupee).”
Rahul said his appeal to Modi is to help the industrialists as much as he likes but not to forget the farmers and poor women.